types of new construction

Types of New Construction: What You Need To Know

July 21, 2017 | Buying a Home | By: The Goodhart Group

Types of New Construction-

What You Need To Know

Buying new construction means different things to different people. That’s why if you’re in the market for a new construction or completely renovated property, it’s critical that you educate yourself on the various types of new construction properties you’ll see on the market. It’s important to know that just because a home is touted “new construction,” it does NOT mean that everything in the home is new. You’ll also want to work with a Realtor who will know the right questions to ask to save you money at the settlement table AND down the line (you can get more tips on why that’s so important in this article).

For more on the four main types of new construction, read on….


Ground-Up New Construction

This type of new construction means the home is truly brand new from the ground-up. Everything from the foundation to the framing is brand new. Of course, floors, fixtures, and finishes will be brand spanking new as well. You can find stand-alone, ground-up new construction projects or entire communities of brand new homes like this one.

Ground-up new construction falls into one of two categories:

  • when the builder purchased the land and then markets a new home
  • when the client buys the land and then hires a builder to do a build a custom home

In a custom build, the buyer gets to design the house and make major decisions along with the builder, architect, and designer. In our area, it is less common to find custom build opportunities. More often, a builder will market a ground-up new construction property. In some cases, if the purchaser writes a contract on the home in the early stages, the builder will give the buyer input into the design and finishes, or allow them a “credit” with which to select their own items.

The Complete Gut Job

With this type of new construction, a home’s original shell remains, but everything inside is stripped down to the studs, removed, and replaced. The home may or may not be expanded as well. Such properties will have new plumbing, electrical, and major systems, in addition to new fixtures and finishes. Since the frame of the home stays, the listing will show the original year the home was built. If prior to 1978, the home will be subject to lead-based paint requirements and standards.

Check out our 718 W. Timber Branch Parkway listing for an example of this type of project.

The Quick Flip

On the surface, the Quick Flip will LOOK much like the Complete Gut Job. While floors, walls, and finishes are all shiny and new, often old pipes, electrical panels, and outdated systems remain. It’s important to know if you’re looking at a quick flip so you can ask about ages of systems and plan and budget for any needed upgrades or repairs. If you don’t know the right questions to ask, you might think you are getting a complete gut job when in reality the “behind the walls” items can be dated. That’s why it’s so important to work with an agent who will know how to help you manage the new construction process.

The Historic Renovation

Historic Renovations can be undertaken as either complete gut jobs or quick flips. However, historic properties are special cases and have specific rules for what can (and cannot) be changed. For example, in the City of Alexandria, builders must follow certain guidelines when replacing windows, roofs, and other architectural elements such as doors, shutters, and exterior lighting. The local jurisdiction’s governing body must approve the home’s plans and more. Our listing at 206 S. Patrick Street is a perfect example of a historic renovation with a complete gut job (read our post on buying a historic home here).


In today’s competitive real estate market, there are also many different types of builders vying for a piece of the new construction action. It’s essential to know what sort of builder you’re working with so you can know what to expect throughout the process. Here are the most common types of builders you will find.

“Brand Name” Builders

These are the names you typically think of when you hear “new construction.” These are large, established companies that usually have multiple projects in various areas in the works at any given time. Typically, these companies build large, new construction communities. In our area, such builders include Ryan Homes, NV Homes, Pulte, EYA, and Toll Brothers.

Boutique Builders

These smaller, local companies are still focused on new construction, but on a much smaller scale. They focus solely on these projects (normally a handful at a time) and are more likely undertake to stand-alone or infill projects. Building homes is a full-time, primary focus for these builders. Boutique builders are more likely to allow you to provide input into the process if you buy before finishes are purchased. Local boutique builders include Wakefield Homes, MHD Builds, and Advanced Construction Group.


Unlike boutique builders, the investor-builder is looking to do quick flips. Often, they have day jobs and invest in real estate on the side. It’s important to know that your project is not necessarily their top priority and you may not get answers (or a finished home) in the timeframe you had envisioned. Be sure to research any investor-builders thoroughly. Try to visit some of their current listings or previous projects to see their work firsthand.

The Bottom Line

Buying one of these types of new construction properties is not as straightforward as it may seem. Be sure to do your homework on both the type of project and the builder. And of course, enlist an experienced Realtor to be in your corner during the process. We’ve had many clients that we have steered away from some “scary” new construction scenarios! For more information on buying new construction, check out this article.

Overwhelmed? Not to worry, we can help! Contact us today to talk about your options for going the new construction route in our area. Our mission is to help you love where you live!

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