"Should I Build a New Home or Buy an Older Construction?"
Contributed by Debbie Zech, Realtor® with the Eric Stewart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate
Trying to decide whether you want to purchase a home that has been lived in and loved or whether you want your family to be the first over the threshold? There is no right or wrong answer; let’s take a few minutes to discuss some advantages and disadvantages of each.
While patience is required as you wait for a home to be built, the new owner can personalize the home by selecting the ideal lot, finishes, appliances and flooring. If the chosen lot allows, options such as bump-outs, bay windows and sunrooms can expand living space, and buyers can help design the home of their dreams.
New homes tend to be more efficient, with builders often incorporating high efficiency heating and air conditioning materials, insulation and employing current technology.
These choices come with significant costs, however, and deciding what is most important is key to sticking to a budget. Buyers also need to factor in costs of landscaping, window treatments, HOA dues in new developments – all important expenses.
Buying an existing home provides the instant gratification of moving soon after settlement.
While building a house involves choosing the land and desired home design as well as selecting flooring, cabinets counters, fixtures, paint colors ….., purchasing a home in an established neighborhood allows the buyer to make changes at his/her own pace, replacing wallpaper and carpet, or buying new appliances when time and budgets allow.
Neighborhood amenities such as community pools, parks and playgrounds are already in place and there usually aren’t the inconveniences that come with living in or near construction sites.
And what about costs?
As a general rule, new construction will cost more than existing homes. Builders tend to be firm on the base price for their houses. Upgrades and additions can add significantly to the final price, but may also be negotiable items.
In existing homes prices are based on past sales of comparably sized homes in similar condition, allowing room for negotiation. That flowered wallpaper, the scratched floors, those tired carpets and older appliances – also areas for negotiation.
The expertise of an experienced Realtor® can be invaluable when it comes to negotiating. If you are thinking of having a home built just for you, invite your realtor to join you when you meet with builders or tell them you are working with a realtor. That helpful person at the model home is very knowledgeable but represents the interests of the builder, not the buyer. Your realtor will help guide you as you look at all the choices, asking pertinent questions you may not have considered and negotiating on your behalf.
If you’ve decided that you want a move-in ready home in an established neighborhood your agent will discuss the possibilities, tour the available homes with you, help you negotiate fair terms and guide you through all contingencies to a seamless settlement.
To find out more about Debbie Zech, you can find her bio here.
Don't forget to download our Savvy Buyer Guide by clicking the link below to learn more about purchasing a home.