Carlsbad Real Estate News and Views: Buying New Construction in Carlsbad – What You Must Know about Closing

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Buying New Construction in Carlsbad – What You Must Know about Closing

Buying a New Construction Home in Carlsbad

Things to Know Before and at Closing


Buying a new construction home in Carlsbad is different in a number of ways from a resale purchase.


If you are interested in a new build, be sure to read this article, before you embark on your home search for a new home, so you fully understand buyer representation and other issues that are different from a resale purchase.


6 Things Buyers Must Know When Buying New Construction in Carlsbad


Let’s assume you have considered all the issues and decide a new build is right for you. Hopefully you’ve enlisted the help of a Realtor who knows the local market, and the issues associated with buying in a new home community.


You signed all the paperwork (oh, yes, there is a lot and it’s different from the standard California paperwork used for resale residential properties)

The deposit was paid

Construction is moving along

You visited the design center to pick your upgrades and options (bear in mind that what you see in those beautiful model homes is not necessarily what comes with the base price of the home you chose)

You paid for your upgrades and options


and before you know it (well, hopefully…delays can happen), you will be ready for closing.


As with resales there are important documents for you to sign for escrow and title, and you will need to submit your funds (mortgage if any; the balance of your down-payment and closing costs) before the day of closing.


Here are some important things to know in this final stage of your transaction - your new home closing:


1. When will I get my keys?

In my experience, this happens in the same way as with resales. Once closing has happened and the deed has recorded you will be notified you are “on record” or "we are confirmed." That means you are now the new owners and can pick up your keys.


house keysThe time of this notification on the day of closing can vary depending on how busy the San Diego County records office is, and sometimes can be near the end of the business day - so you can't arrange for your movers for the morning of closing day!


You will want to find out what to do about getting your keys from the builder’s rep (your buyer agent can help here, too) so you can move in; ask about this before closing happens so you know what to do and when.



Find out if you will get a mail box key or if that has to be obtained from the HOA, and of course find out where your mail box is (it might not be by your new home). Cluster mail boxes are common in planned communities and subdivisions here rather than having individual mailboxes at each house.


By the way don’t forget to set up your mail forwarding in advance of your move-in date.


If the community has a club house and/or pool, find out if you get a key or fob from the builder’s rep after closing or do you need to request that from the HOA?


Be sure to ask about the need for guest passes for parking, too.


2. Starting up Your Utilities

As with resales you will need to set up new accounts for your utilities (e.g., gas, electric, trash, sewer, water, cable/Internet) to begin once you are the owner; the new home rep will provide you with the information you need to do this. Here in Carlsbad water, sewer and trash are all through one office which makes that easy.


residential utility meterThis should be done in advance of closing so there is a seamless transfer of services at closing from the builder’s account to yours. This is pretty easy to do but don’t put it off until the last minute.


If you are buying a condo or town home it’s possible some services may be included with your HOA fee (e.g., sewer, water) and not separately metered, and you will not have to set up those accounts personally. This will depend on the community – you should find this out early on in the due diligence process to learn what your HOA fee covers.


You may need to set up a separate appointment if you want a security system installed, as well as installing your Internet/Cable service (check online to find out what service is available in your area). Bear in mind these cannot be done until you are the new owner so plan your time accordingly.


3. Your New Address

Having a new address brings up several important issues. First, you want to know what it is.


Sounds obvious, I know, but new homes are often identified by lot #s and you will want to know the actual street address for your utilities, deliveries, mail forwarding, and movers. This should be provided to you during the transaction since the deed will need to be recorded with the County of San Diego with an actual street address.


street signsIf the community is still under construction check to see if there are street signs in place (likely there are); be aware it may take time for new streets to show up in Google Maps and on GPS systems. Siri might not know the street yet when asked!


Someone trying to find your new home may have problems if there are no street signs so be sure you know how to get there and can provide directions as needed.


And check to see if there are some streets that are not finished, or are blocked off due to construction. The shortest route to your new home may not be accessible right away.


4. Landscaping Planning

With most new homes I have run across (other than the sale of a model home) the new owner needs to complete the landscaping in the backyard - when you buy a new home you will only get dirt in the back, but front landscaping may be part of the purchase. You may or may not have to maintain it depending on the HOA you are in, and may not be able to make any changes to plantings without HOA approval.


Landscaping plans for the backyard must be approved by an architectural committee and completed within a certain period of time (commonly 9 – 12 months, and it varies by community). You should start this process early since it can take time.


Finding out about the landscapping is an important part of your due diligence before you make a purchase in a new home community in Carlsbad so you know what is required, and consider the additional costs for improving your backyard.


Working with a buyer agent in your new home purchase will help with many questions. While the process of dealing with a new home builder may be somewhat different from a resale, there are basic questions and issues you should be aware of as a buyer, from start to finish, and the right agent can be your advocate and remind you of things you might not think about plus watch out for your best interests.


Please reach out to me  at (760) 840-1360 if I can answer any questions. I am happy you guide you through the purchase of a new home or a resale in Carlsbad.




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If I can provide more information about homes for sale in Carlsbad and in surrounding areas, local housing market conditions, or assist you, friends or family in a purchase or sale, please call or text me at (760) 840-1360, or email me at



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Serving Carlsbad (including Aviara, La Costa & Carlsbad Village),  Encinitas (including Leucadia & Olivenhain), Cardiff, Solana Beach, Del Mar, La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos (including San Elijo Hills), Oceanside, Escondido, and  Greater San Diego

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Comment balloon 12 commentsJeff Dowler, CRS • August 16 2019 10:17PM



Thank you for this useful and helpful blog post on tips to closing on new homes.

Posted by MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) 11 months ago

Morning Jeff.

No much difference from what happens in our area.  The one sure thing is, there will be delays, that you can bank on.  

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) 11 months ago

Good morning Jeff. Having someone with experience to assist you that costs you nothing is the way to go. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) 11 months ago

Good morning, Jeff... this was interesting for me to read as I sell a lot of new construction and have for 20 years. Here, as long as the settlement attorney has all the funds in his/her account they will pass keys at the closing table and not wait for recordation. And our builders will typically give buyers up to 3 days after closing to transfer utilities. And our landscaping is done front and back by the builder prior to closing. Always interesting to see how differently things are done in various parts of the country.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) 11 months ago

Thank for stopping by Michelle Carr Crowe,Altas Just Call...408-252-8900! Buying a newly built home, at least in my area, is different in many ways from resales and buyers can benefit from our assistance in both cases.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) 11 months ago

James Dray 

Staying in touch with the builder is key to know if delays are happening so you can plan accordingly. My closing the other day was right on target for the date projected 3 month ago. I do know there were delays in the past due to the rains.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) 11 months ago

No arguments on that from me Wayne Martin 

Buyer often do not understand the role the builder's rep plays in the transaction. I learned alot from this most recent new home transaction!!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) 11 months ago

Jeff I have not bought a new construction home, so #3 would have been one I would not have thought of.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) 11 months ago

Hi Nina Hollander 

Yes things are different here in CA. Sounds like your process is much like we had in Boston with closing and all.

I have yet to see a new build here (other than a spec home) come with backyard landcaping, unless someone is buying a model home.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) 11 months ago

Hi George Souto 

Same here. But I have seen addresses take some time to get officially recorded by the city, and it takes a while sometimes for Googleand GPS mapping to catch up.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) 11 months ago

Hello Jeff,  Buyers should alwasy have someone like you and me when it comes to new homes built.


Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 11 months ago

Thanks Will Hamm  Agreed.

This transaction went really well - builder's rep was great to work with!!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) 11 months ago