This last weekend I had the pleasure of helping a great couple sign up to build a Brookfield Residential (“Brookfield”) home in Denver’s Central Park neighborhood. It was the perfect fit for their needs and we’re excited to be working with them.
Since Brookfield is a relatively new builder to this specific neighborhood I figured I’d share what I learned from the experience. I figure it may help some other buyers since they still have several hundred more homes to sell here between their four home series.
One quick note before we start. This post is specific to Brookfield Residential in Central Park and at the time of this post. Brookfield is a large company and their policies and terms likely vary by neighborhood. Plus things change over time as market conditions change, so just be sure to talk to Brookfield and your Buyer’s Agent (if you have one) when you build your specific home to make sure it’s all applicable.
#1: Brookfield is making most if not all selections on the home before a buyer contracts to purchase the home.
In an effort to expedite and simplify the construction process, Brookfield will typically select all the options on the home before the buyer is involved. By that I mean the specific floor plan that will go on the lot is selected, the structural upgrades (think fireplace, finished basement, AC, etc) have been selected and the interior design package (think carpet, tile, cabinets, etc) has been selected. I made this the #1 item you need to know about building with Brookfield because if you aren’t aware of this going into the process you can be frustrated. Some buyers want to make selections and customize their home, but that’s probably not going to happen with Brookfield in this neighborhood right now. The upside is they’re getting the permits faster this way, the home is likely already going to be started when you get involved (which means a faster move in) and it really makes the buying process much easier. Plus you’ll know your “all in” price from day 1 which is really comforting! This simplified, pre-selected options process is great for some people who want simplicity and bad for others who want more choice. I think with everything selected for you, buyers should just approach this almost like a resale purchase situation…where you don’t get to pick everything out and if you like 90% of what’s in the home you’re in good shape. (I’d say it’s very rare that buyers get 100% of what they want without having to make some compromises, regardless of budget size.)
#2: Brookfield’s pricing is typically on par with the resale market values we see right now.
Is building new a better deal than buying a resale home? That’s a question we, as Buyer’s Agents in Central Park, get often. So we’ve done the new build vs resale comparison in the neighborhood a lot recently. We think the research shows that typically Brookfield’s pricing is in line with what you could expect to go pay in the resale market. (There are exceptions, and we’ll always help you watch out for any negatives that we see with the home you’re considering)
So if new builds are about the same value as resale homes, why build new? Well, first of all you get a brand new home which is amazing. And it comes with a home warranty which you don’t find in the resale market. But we’re not here to steer you one way or the other, we’ll just help you assess the options in both the new and resale markets…then you get to choose what’s best for you. But as of right now, we don’t see a big advantage on either side in terms of being a significantly better value than the other.
#3 You need to get pre-qualified with Brookfield’s lender to purchase a home.
Before Brookfield will sign a contract with you they want to have you get prequalified with their lender to have some assurance you’re a serious buyer. Note that this does not say you have to finance the purchase through their lender, who you use is completely up to you. So just get their prequalification done to satisfy that requirement early. You can select which lender you want to use once you sign a contract. Brookfield is currently offering a $3k closing costs incentive when you use their lender, but we always suggest getting two lender quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. (just make sure your quote is from a lender experienced with new builds! We have recommendations if you need one)
#4 Brookfield is releasing homes a few at a time, rather than in large chunks.
I wish we could show you a map of 200 homes of varying floor plans to choose from, but that’s not how it works. Brookfield usually releases a few lots in each series, gets those under contract and then releases more. (which is typical for builders) So to get the lot and floor plan you want you should get prequalified with their lender (see #3 above) and then stay really close to their sales representatives to understand when a lot release is happening. (That’s a big part of what we do at Focus…stalk the builders for you so you have the best chance to get the lot and home you want!)
When lots release you have to be ready to move forward because they go quick. Note that in the current market it’s very common for there to be a price increase on practically every new release…so the longer you wait the more likely the price is to tick up. (that of course varies with market conditions)
#5 Brookfield has 2 model homes in Central Park you can tour.
It’s one thing to see a home online but it’s always more informative if you can go see it in person. Brookfield now has the “Signature” series modeled at 6150 N Dallas St Denver, CO 80238 and the “Tealight” series modeled at 9790 E 62nd Dr Denver, CO 80238. They’ll have models for their other two series, the “Cadence Rowhomes” and the “Villa Portfolio” series (paired homes), but those aren’t completed yet. Be sure to check their website for hours before heading over to the model home. And if you’re wanting to have a Buyer’s Agent represent you throughout the new build process (which is a no brainer because you pay the same price with or without an agent on your side!) be sure to bring that agent along on your first visit. (Why have a Buyer’s Agent on a new build? We answered that in this Central Park Scoop Youtube video!)
#6 Brookfield is paying a flat $6,500 fee to Buyer’s Agents on their homes.
Brookfield is currently paying a fee to Buyer’s Agents that is much less than what I’ve typically received on new builds in the past. In my experience, builders have typically paid a ballpark of 2.0% – 3.0% of the base price of the home to the Buyer’s Agent, which on the homes they’re selling now in Central Park would be $10,000 – $21,000. So why am I telling you this, why would you as the buyer care? I’m not telling you to complain about the fees (no one wants to hear a Realtor whining about fees). We tell you this because it could really matter to you financially. Often times if you have a Buyer’s Agent working for you there is a Buyer Agency Agreement signed between you as the Buyer and your Broker. In that agreement sometimes there is a box checked that says if the Buyer’s Agent is not paid a certain fee by the seller/builder then the remaining fee becomes the responsibility of the buyer to pay at closing. That’s really important for you to understand if you’re going to purchase a Brookfield home. For example, let’s say you purchase a Brookfield home with a base price of $700,000 and your agent is paid $6,500 by the builder. If the Buyer Agency Agreement you have with your broker says they’ll be paid 2.8% of the base price of the home and you are obligated to make up any shortfall not paid by the seller/builder then you would owe the broker $13,100 out of your pocket at closing! (Math check: That’s $19,600 total fee owed to the broker less the $6,500 the builder paid them equals $13,100 still owed) That would be a terrible surprise to find out on closing day! So our point here is not to complain about the fee or beat up any other agents and their agreements. The point is to help you understand this risk and make sure you have a conversation with your Buyer’s Agent about this early in the process to make sure expectations of both parties are clear. This is not a topic Brookfield will be involved with, this is between you and your Buyer’s Agent.
At Focus we’re going to show you the best homes that fit your needs, regardless of the commission being paid by the seller/builder. We’re also not asking our buyers to come out of pocket and pay any of our fee if they buy a Brookfield home.
#7 Brookfield doesn’t install sump pumps unless the basement is finished.
This one is just a quick heads up on a practical matter to help you protect your investment. We think it’s a great idea to have a sump pump installed in your sump pit and currently Brookfield is not providing one unless you finish the basement with them. I won’t bore you with what a sump pump does, but basically it is the key piece of equipment that protects water from building up around your foundation walls and potentially causing damage. We’d suggest to all buyers, regardless of whether they finish the basement or not, to have that installed immediately after you move into the home. It will cost a ballpark of $500 – $600, you can have a plumber install it and it plays a key role in protecting your home. It’s a no brainer.
#8 Brookfield will provide help with the radon mitigation if you have high radon levels.
Brookfield has an addendum that says if you test for radon within 60 days after closing and find your radon to be high (more than 4.0 PCi/L) they will reimburse you for $400 of the cost of mitigating the issue. In my experience the cost to mitigate that will be about $600 so the $400 will cover most of it. If you build a Brookfield just set a reminder early in the process about this so you don’t forget later and let the 60 days after closing time limit pass by.
Well there you have it, 8 things to know when you’re purchasing a Brookfield home in Central Park right now. Is that an all-encompassing list of what you need to know? Not at all, but it’s a start. Overall the contract signing was a good experience and we look forward to building this Brookfield home and many more to come.
I’ve added a few more links to other new build related resources for you. And if you’d like help from a local agent that specializes in Central Park we’d love to help! We help buyers and sellers of both new and resale homes in the neighborhood. My contact info is below and I’d love to chat!
How does New Build home pricing work? (Youtube)
Featured Image is Signature Plan 4 Model