Just like we all love the “new car smell,” who doesn’t enjoy the sights and smells of fresh paint, gleaming granite countertops and squeaky clean hardwood floors of a new home? There is no doubt that the real estate market is making a comeback and just like many regions of the country, certain parts of metro Atlanta have been going through a mini boom in new home construction. If you are in the market for a new home from a builder, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself. It is usually a good idea to first decide the builder from whom you would buy. Check the builder’s reputation in terms of build quality, fulfillment of warranty and customer satisfaction. If possible, visit new or existing sub divisions constructed by the builder you are considering and talk to home owners about their experience. You should proceed with choosing a particular model of your choice only after finalizing the builder. Regardless of whether you are buying a new home that’s already built to spec and ready to occupy or a custom or semi-custom home, it is imperative that you hire a buyer’s agent well in advance of your purchase. This is important because the listing agent represents the builder and not the buyer. An experienced buyer’s agent will generally be able to negotiate a better purchase price and can help ensure that you are represented fairly in the purchase contract. A lot of builders offer mortgages through a subsidiary or a preferred lender. Shop around to make sure you can compare apples to apples to get the best rate. Builders sometimes entice buyers to go with their lender by offering several hundred dollars in closing cost assistance. Although it may seem like a great deal, the “freebie” they offer is usually built into the mortgage package. It may be a good idea to show your purchase contract to a real estate attorney to identify any pitfalls that may hurt you after the purchase. One of the biggest pitfalls pertains to the completion date. A real estate attorney can help include a penalty clause if the builder misses the stated completion deadline.