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The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Construction Home – Part Two

January 16, 2019  /  Home Buying  /  Marti Reeder

 

Did you have a chance to read our previous blog post, on the advantages of buying a new home?

In that post we wrapped by saying that, as wonderful as new homes can be, there are potential disadvantages as well.

Let’s take a look at those now.

BUYING OPTIONS

Remember when it comes to buying a house, there are several options:

  • Buying a “resale” home; a home that’s been lived in previously.
  • Buying a new construction home; a home that’s built (or is under construction) but has never been lived in.
  • Buying land and building a custom home.

This post focuses on the pros and cons of new construction versus resale homes.

 

WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE ABOUT A NEW HOME?

A survey by Trulia showed that 2 in 5 Americans (or 41% of the population!) prefers a new home over a resale. Clearly, “new” appeals to a lot of people. And there’s a variety of reasons for this.

And yet, new isn’t for everyone. If 41% of buyers prefer new that means there’s 59% who prefer a resale. Our clients who have decided not to purchase new have shared these reasons with us:

  1. That “cookie cutter” feeling. New homes built in a large subdivision of new homes may all feel very similar. Often, the builder offers just five or six floor plans in a plat of several hundred homes … leading to a feeling of “déjà vu” as you drive through the neighborhood.
  2. Many new neighborhoods have restrictions that many homeowners find irritating – from the colors they’re allowed to paint their homes to a prohibition on parking cars in their own driveways. Many homeowners find these restrictions cumbersome.
  3. Upcharges for customizing. That model home you toured – the one that wowed you? Likely it included many costly upgrades that you’ll need to pay extra for. In many cases, those upgrades are out-of-pocket charges that can’t be rolled into your mortgage. If you’re not in a position to pay for upgrades, you may feel that you’re getting an inferior product (and certainly not the home you fell in love with!).
  4. New homes settle. It’s very common for new homes to “settle” after you move in. Settling shows up in the form of cracks in the walls, ceilings, foundations, and door or window frames. If the home is warrantied, the builder usually addresses settling issues – but only if they occur within the warranty period.
  5. Little landscaping provided. Most builders put in the bare minimum of landscaping when building new homes. In some instances, even the lawn in the back yard is not included. This puts the expense and work squarely on the new homeowners. It takes many years for vegetation to mature, and tress to grow. Are you prepared for a yard that lakes shade and privacy?
  6. A longer commute. Most new home subdivisions are in the suburbs. If your job is in an urban area, you could be looking at a longer commute than you would have if you purchased a resale home closer in.
  7. Small (and sometimes very small) lots. If you’re dreaming of a large yard, you’ll likely not find it with new construction. In many instances, you can lean out your window and almost touch your neighbor’s home!
  8. A shortage of nearby amenities. New subdivisions are often built some distance from conveniences such as shopping and schools.
  9. A shortage of “charm” and character. Looking for a tree-lined neighborhood filled with homes that have lovely landscaping and an established feeling? Resale is your better choice. Most newer homes have less architectural detail and (as mentioned above) little in the way of mature landscaping.
  10. There’s nothing to DIY. There are many homeowners who enjoy interior DIY projects. In a new home, there’s usually not much to tackle in the way of projects.
  11. Life in a construction zone can be frustrating. If you’re one of the first to move into a new subdivision, be prepared for months (or years, depending on the size of the plat) of living in a construction zone.

Well, that’s a lot to think about! We hope this list shows the other side of buying a new home.

Do you know yet if “new” is for you?

In our next post we’ll talk about the pros and cons of buying a resale home.

In the meantime please reach out with your questions about homes – whether they’re new, resale, or custom-designed. We’re new home experts … and we’re here to help!

 

 

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