By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate.
With so few homes on the market these days, having a new house built seems to be an obvious solution to finding the perfect home if you have the money. While moving into a space where everything is brand spankin’ new and built to your specific needs sounds great, it does have some downsides that didn’t exist before 2020. Here are a few things to consider when weighing both as you make the best decision for your family.
One of the most compelling reasons to buy an existing home is that it is less expensive than a similar-sized home. Apart from the fact that older homes are typically lower priced, it used to be true that buying from a selling home owner also allows you to negotiate everything from price to possession date. But in today’s buyer’s market, new listings get multiple offers (some over asking price) the day they go on the market. Some home hunters are making offers sight unseen to be first in line. Buyers are falling over each other to snatch up a prime property to take advantage of today’s low interest. Buyers are in no position to negotiate.
On the plus side, choosing an existing home allows buyers to find a place that is already a neighborhood. Some buyers like to know the neighbors, if it’s family-friendly, and traffic patterns before making a commitment. Also, large developments of new homes may not be as convenient for commuting to a city-center job as older homes that are not so far out in the ‘burbs..
Timing can also be more flexible when buying an existing home, as buyers and sellers can agree on firm moving-in dates. Builders can and do experience unexpected delays which may push back moving dates. Recently, COVID-19 and social distancing regulations have held up new construction projects.
On the down side, older homes may not have up to date electronics, smart home devices, or offer spaces for home schooling or working remotely. They can have outdated plumbing or electrical systems, and may need work if regular maintenance has been lax.
New homes enjoy the luxury of having the latest, most energy efficient smart home innovations. They also can be designed with spaces for emerging trends such as working from home. Do you want a mudroom, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, hardwood floors, an office, or a multipurpose room to home-school your children? New appliances, windows, new roof etc. can give a buyer options to lower energy costs, which can add up to significant savings over time.
And obviously, a new home with all new fixtures and appliances will lower maintenance costs for things like leaky faucets, shutters to paint, and other odd jobs around the house. Many items will be covered by warranties.
Whether you choose a brand new home or an existing one, both are good options depending on your situation and needs.