Looking for a brand-new home in move-in condition, where you can be settled in time to serve Thanksgiving dinner?
What you need is a quick delivery home. These are what builders call "inventory homes"--homes they build and keep on hand for buyers who don't want to wait for the lengthy building process that can take the better part of a year. There is usually a short period of time between the day you put down the deposit and the closing date. It can be as short as 30 to 60 days.
The recent real estate and credit market slowdown caused builders' inventories to pile up. That means good hunting for buyers: lots of choice, good prices and accommodating builders.
Right for you?
How do you know if you're a good candidate for a quick delivery home? If securing financing for the new home is not contingent upon selling your current home, you are in a good position to buy quickly. That means you can carry both mortgages at once, and are not under pressure for your former home to sell. If your current home is paid off, or if you are a first-time buyer with a down payment in hand, you also may be a good candidate to purchase a quick delivery home.
No matter what your situation, you must have your financial ducks in a row, says Madelyn DeRienzo-Devers. She and her husband Albany Devers recently purchased an immediate delivery townhome at The Grove in Forest Park, which they had their eye on for two years.
When their Realtor showed them the three-bedroom unit, they fell in love with it. "We made an offer, and the following day it was accepted. We did not have to haggle back and forth, which made it quite easy," she says. They saw the home on July 18, made the offer July 19, closed Aug. 27, and moved in Sept. 4.DeRienzo-Devers says they could not have afforded the townhome when it first went on the market. "The builders were more willing to negotiate the price due to the length of time it had been vacant," she says. The couple ended up paying less than $400,000 for the townhome, which had originally been listed in the upper $400,000s.
"My husband and I are quite organized and have good credit, so we could meet the necessary requirements," says DeRienzo-Devers.
Get the upgrades
There are other advantages of buying a quick delivery home besides price. Many quick delivery homes were once model homes. They often have upgraded cabinetry, flooring, lighting, paint colors, landscaping, etc. They may be fully furnished and decorated with window treatments and wall hangings, all of which buyers can purchase for a turnkey home.
"Models typically have a lot of options and amenities because builders want to show everything they have to offer," says Scott Ballard, vice president of sales and marketing at Par Development, which has quick delivery homes in many of its communities.
"One of our latest sales was to a couple who had a home in Florida. They just moved right in and brought their clothes," Ballard says. He says it can cost up to $100,000 extra to buy an upgraded, fully-furnished, decorated home if the buyer wants the convenience.
"We have two quick delivery homes for sale in River Park Place in Elgin that are totally furnished. Emerson Lofts in Woodstock has a fully decorated model," he says.
Town & Country Homes keeps a selection of homes it calls Designer Express. These homes are move-in ready, with interior finishes (cabinets, flooring, countertops, paint colors) chosen by the company's interior designer.
"If a customer comes in who has been relocated or wants to get in before the school year starts, we have those available," says Vice President of Marketing Brian Murphy.
Several Designer Express homes in Town & Country's newest community, Cider Grove in Huntley, used to be model homes. "We've introduced some new plans, and we want to sell the models," Murphy says.
Homes in Cider Grove range from the mid-$200,000s to about $300,000 for a single-family home from 2,600 to 3,000 square feet.
The builder Sho-Deen Inc. specializes in quick delivery homes. One-third of its business comes from transferees, says President Mark Thomas.
"We do a large amount of business with Realtors who have transferees coming in from out of state. You need the inventory homes for that buyer. They like to get in and settle as soon as they can," Thomas says.
For example, the Prairie Ranch I is ready for immediate delivery in Mill Creek's Tanna neighborhood near Geneva. It includes three bedrooms, two baths, a three-car garage and 2,035 square feet and is priced at $389,432.
"Mill Creek is very unique in that 45 percent of the community is open space," Thomas says. That includes two 18-hole golf courses, 127 acres of wetland, 195 acres of parkland and 17 miles of walking trails. There are two on-site elementary schools in the Geneva School District, which is a big plus." Out of 2,300 home sites, only 245 remain at Mill Creek. "It's a mature community," he says.
If you want to move ASAP, but also want to personalize your home, you can still do quick delivery with certain builders. Sho-Deen will have a total of 16 homes in various communities ready by late fall. "On over half of them, you'd still have an opportunity to make some interior choices if you bought now," Thomas says.
Par Development also has homes at the almost-done stage.
"Right now, we have a few spec homes that are under roof with the carpentry done. The final finishes can be chosen by the buyer," Ballard says. "We can deliver in about 60 days that way. It allows a little more time for financing."
Bill and Teresa Churilla were able to customize after purchasing their home at Country Club Villas, an age-targeted community in Joliet developed by Country Club Villas LLC.
The couple are empty nesters who had retired after raising five children in nearby Dolton.
"Bill had been looking for our next home every weekend for five years," Teresa says. When they walked in the door of the model at Country Club Villas, they knew they were home. But another couple was interested in the villa they wanted, so they had to move fast.
Even though they still had to prepare their Dolton home for sale, the Churillas decided the timing was right to buy, which they did right away.
"Our particular unit was under construction at the time [fall of 2008] so we had an opportunity to modify the floor plan a bit," Bill says. They added a closet by the front entrance and modified the master bath with a bigger shower where the whirlpool tub was planned. They also added a deck outside the kitchen. The home was done by late spring.
"The builder and the sales rep were very professional and accommodating to the changes we wanted to make," Bill says. "The deal was too good to pass up."
Builders say the deals and variety you see today in quick delivery homes won't be around forever.
"It's all about supply and demand," Ballard says. "Most builders are coming to the end of their inventory but the buys are still out there and the discounts are at an all-time high."