If you are looking for a brand new home that you will be the first to own, then you can't hunt for it as you would hunt any other property. Here are some practical tips to help you land a new construction property as soon as possible:
Look Beyond MLS
The first thing you should know is that you will restrict the number of properties available to you if you restrict yourself to your local MLS (multiple listing services). This is because homebuilders don't necessarily list their properties on MLS. They have other avenues for selling their constructions; for example, they may have sales employees on the construction sites, advertise their properties on billboards or even make use of local newspaper advertisement sections. Therefore, comb all these areas, and every possible place that may contain property advertisements, to increase your odds of landing your ideal new construction.
Don't Restrict Yourself to Completed Units
Another thing you should know is that new homes are often sold before they are completed; some are sold before their construction even kicks off (off plan). Therefore, you can miss out on many properties if you are waiting to see completed buildings before starting the purchase process. As long as the builder has a great reputation, you should not worry about buying a home before its construction is complete.
Understand That What You See Isn't Necessarily What You Get
As explained above, new homes are often sold before they are completed. As you might have suspected, this means that the house you see on paper may not be the exact one you get after the construction is done. The flooring material, costs, and quality of kitchen appliances are some of the things that may change before the construction is complete. This can be a positive or negative thing. It can be a negative thing if the changes aren't to your liking and it can be a positive thing if it is allows you to get the upgrades you need. The major thing is to understand that changes can happen and know exactly what you can get so that you can specify the exact home you want within the allowed parameters.
Work With a Real Estate Agent
Considering all the above factors, it makes sense that you should not buy a new construction without the assistance of a professional real estate agent. For example, the agent will know where to look for new constructions to maximize the number of properties available to you. The agent will also help you research the builders so that you don't risk your money with a bogus builder.