New Home Construction Tampa Bay Area

Times have changed…and it's not what you think!

Tampa new construction homes offer the latest functional floor plans, high energy efficiency, no immediate repairs, and of course a spotless move-in ready home with a warranty after closing. Sounds simple, right?

New Home Construction Tampa Bay Area

However, buying a Tampa new construction home can be complex, so it is best to know how it all works before you start looking. New construction smart home buying in Tampa Bay requires special knowledge. 

Buying Tampa New Construction is very different from buying in the resale market…like day and night.   Not having an experienced buyers broker at your side, may hurt your wallet more than it needs to be…you need a pro to help navigate your best options. 

Keep an open mind…

when considering New Home Construction Tampa Bay 

New Construction homes are not being built everywhere.  You have to go where the land is available for builders to build new construction.  It may or may not be the area you prefer, but that's the tradeoff when buying a brand-new home.

You need to consider the areas where these Tampa Bay new construction single family homes are being built.  Production builders are concentrating on areas with large parcels of vacant land, so there is room to build large master planned communities with a Homeowners Association. Many offer a large array of amenities, such as Epperson (link), a lagoon community.  

New Home Construction Tampa Bay Area

Where do I find New Construction Homes?

Large master planned communities are often outside of the main city centers, on the outskirts of the city.  There is new construction occurring in certain areas of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pasco Counties.   

Areas that are considered already built out such as South Tampa and St. Petersburg will have old single family homes on large lots torn down and replaced with brand-new single-family homes built from $800’s to luxury homes in the several millions. 

There is not enough land in all areas to build out an entire community. 

In concentrated areas, builders are building vertical condos or a small townhome community, where small parcels are available.  Not all new construction homes are in MLS so call us, Buyers Broker of Florida (727-202-9130) to learn who is building where.

Production Homes vs. Custom Homes

New Home Construction Tampa Bay Area

Production Homes are typically mass produced larger communities with limited floor plans and limited options, however the price is less. 

You choose a lot and the model of home, and then put down a deposit.  

The builder then builds the home, with their own money and your loan on the house is not due until the home is completed. 

Custom Homes are usually single homes built to the specifications of what you want. Your loan will be secured before construction begins with money drawn periodically to the builder until completion. The style, the floor plan and the amenities can be anything.

There are many decisions to make and changes to adapt to.The cost may fluctuate with the availability of buyers' selections of the increased cost of the product.

Most homebuyers find that the most important difference between production builders and custom home builders is who carries the building costs. The buyer or the builder?

Production Homes

Since financing land may be difficult, the builder usually owns the land which they most likely  bought with cash.

Production builders require less cash up front from the buyer, and the buyer has less decisions to make in the process.  That makes it less time-consuming and easier. 

The builder will now build the home at their expense to sell to a specific buyer or future buyer. If you are budget minded, your best bet is to focus on production builders, as they offer the best pricing and predictable build times. 

With a production builder, the  buyers need to read the fine print in the contract to see who absorbs the construction costs if expenses increase during the build time. In addition, who pays the impact fees, utility hook ups, and land development costs.  

The contract will have a deposit paid upfront before the contract is signed and probably a different finalized price after design options and upgrades selected, usually within 30 days after signing a contract.  

The buyer should be aware of what deposits will be required before the signing of the contract. 

Deposits can vary depending on the specific builder's requirement.  Upgrades may be required to be paid up front in cash, while other builders may allow the buyer to roll these costs into their loan. Your loan is due at completion of your home.

Every production builder has a different strategy.  Either it’s no frills but affordable, or the builder offers more energy efficient upgrades or design options.  At Buyers Broker of Florida, we investigate all options for our clients.

Custom Homes

Building custom homes is more prevalent in the luxury market as there is more risk with land and build purchase for the builder. There are always more unexpected costs.

New Home Construction Tampa Bay Area

Not all land is fully buildable due to wetlands and protected species. 

The vacant lot may need more prep to be suitable to build, so not everything can be predicted accurately. 

The final price may fluctuate when dealing with custom home building.

Custom home building requires more commitment, decision making and cost, as there is no limitation on what you can add or change about the home

The land/lot is often purchased separately with cash as it may be difficult to finance.  Once the land is purchased, then a builder starts to build the actual home.   

The custom home typically will be financed in advance and built with a construction to a permanent loan.  This means, the owner will pay interest on the loan each month until the home is complete.  

The lender pays the builder draws at certain milestones during the build process. Once the home is completed the loan converts to a normal 30-year mortgage.  

Since this is a two-step loan there are two interest rates quoted.  In addition, the lender will give the owner the land value as the source of downpayment for the loan.  There are instances where the lender will consider the value of the land that has appreciated over a specific period rather than the purchase price of the lot.

Builders have 2 types of Tampa new construction homes to sell.

New Home Construction Tampa Bay Area

1) Pick a lot and select a floor plan.  Then select colors, cabinets etc. and any special customization or semi-customization.  Completion time of a Tampa New Construction Home is about 9-12 months from contract signing.  

Picking a lot can be confusing as not all lots are great and sometimes the lot with the highest $ premium is not necessarily the best lot.  We know what is and can help you sort that out.

2) Buy an inventory home.  This is a home that is already built by the builder or in the process of being built.  Often called “spec” homes because the builder is speculating on selling it to a future buyer.

One big advantage is a total price upfront that will not change once you sign a contract.  Most builders today are “inventory building”.  This means the builder (not the buyer) chooses the lot, the floor plan, upgrades and colors.  This is due to the supply change issues with product availability and fluctuating costs.  This also allows a buyer not to have to wait almost a year to move in.

Most builder customs have changed as the buyer is not able to customize the home like they used to. That can be easier for a buyer not to make color selections and beneficial to have total pricing upfront, with no surprises later on..

What is the REAL cost for Tampa New Construction Homes?

New Home Construction Tampa Bay Area

It is not always what is advertised on the builder’s website. 

A model home with a base price of $500,000 may have $300,000 in upgrades and you love the model but not the price of including all the frills.

There are several fees that make up the total purchase price on the contract when you build a Tampa new construction home:

Base Price.  This includes the floor plan and all the standard features.   Most often the home does not include Refrigerator, Washer, Dryer, or Blinds.  You can live in this home without making extra upgrades.  However, 99% of home buyers add upgrades.

Design Upgrades.  These are upgrades that allow you to customize the home for an additional cost.  Examples would be selecting different cabinetry, countertops, flooring, lighting, interior paint color, doors, hardware.

Structural Upgrades.   Structural upgrades are an additional expense to further customize the home.  Structural Option are changes to the structure such as adding a bathroom, adding a loft space, adding a floor outlet, adding pre-plumb for a sink or water softener, it can even be adding stair treads for wood stairs for example.

Lot premium The price of a lot varies based on location within the community.   Standard interior lots are priced less than a home that has pond or conservation views.  There are no rules of how a builder prices a lot premium, and every lot has a premium.  It’s based on the market and what the builder can get. This is why you need to bring your trusted buyer agent with you.

Low voltage Upgrades.  These are an additional cost for extra cable outlets, Wi-Fi access points, surround sound networking, security system, central vacuum for example.

Builders advertise the “base price” of a home, so the final price will be more…ask us for details.

Before you walk into New Home Construction Tampa Sale Office

…get prequalified!

Get pre-qualified for financing before you start searching for a Tampa New Construction home. It is best to figure out your home buying budget before the home search. 

In Florida, the time frame for financing contingencies on Tampa New Construction Homes are short, so it is in your best interest to be prepared.   In addition, you will want to make sure you can finance those “upgrades”.

Builders offer money toward your closing costs if you use their preferred lender, however, these may or may not be competitive rates or the best lenders fees.  Comparison shopping we can help you with or read “Should you use the Builder’s Lender”.

Visiting the New Home Construction Tampa Communities

All the builders prefer that you bring your buyer’s agent to your first visit.    There is no discount if you go along and more than likely without our help, you will not get the best pricing.  Builders will all pay the Buyer Agents’ fee, and their knowledge and experience will be helpful as the choices you will need to make can be confusing.

New Home Construction Tampa Bay Area Buyers Agent Services

New Home Construction Tampa Bay Area

Buyers Agents know who is building what and where and can find the builders that will best fit your needs.   Whether you need a specific budget, good schools, a quick move in, lots of amenities, lake or golf course views, we can help.   

We can compare communities, review contracts, show you the best buys, negotiate, assist with new construction inspections, and attend walk throughs.  We also assist with financing, insurance, liaise or mitigate any unexpected events with the builder on your behalf.  We are there every step of the way. .

Smart New Construction home buyers always rely on their personal Buyer’s Broker.  Call Buyers Broker of Florida for your new home needs 727-202-9130.


Contact a Tampa New Construction Buyers Agent


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