You’ve decided you’re ready for a new home, but should you search resales or construct your own? Initially, this is one of many important decisions you’ll be making during your home buying journey. As in any situation, there are both pros and cons to consider. I’ve broken down the pros and cons of new construction, so you can confidently decide if you should buy it or build it. Let’s begin with the pros!
- Material and Structural Warranty
Most builders offer a one-year material warranty, which means they’ll accept responsibility for some material defects and will come in and fix them at no cost to you. Awesome! Additionally, many builders also offer a 10-year structural warranty, where they guarantee the stability and function of the structure and foundation. As you meet with different builders, ensure you discuss their specific warranty policies before making any decisions. It can be a dealbreaker!
Also, any appliances included in your home (furnace, water heater, central air system and all kitchen appliances) will most likely be covered for several years under manufacturers’ warranties. The builder will provide this information to you, in addition to user manuals. Ensure you review and submit any needed information requested regarding the warranties.
- No bidding war
In today’s market, it’s a jungle out there. It’s definitely a seller’s market (when the number of buyers is more than the number of homes on the market). Sellers are receiving multiple offers and properties are going “Under Contract” in record time. Building a home can be a much simpler, less stress-free solution for buyers who are experiencing house hunting distress as a result of this fierce competition.
This is huge and the main attraction to most individuals. Many home buyers go the new construction route because they can get exactly what they want, how they want it. When building a house from the ground up, you’ll get to personalize every detail of your house — both exterior and interior. From the placement of light fixtures and outlets to the style of flooring, you’re in the driver’s seat. In some situations, you’ll even get to choose the lot! After all, no one knows what you like better than YOU.
- Nobody has lived in the home
There’s that “brand new” feeling when you move into a home that nobody has lived in before. No feet or paws have stepped on your carpet and no one has bathed in your tub. Also, no time has passed for anything to break or malfunction.
New construction is often an extra bonus for lender incentives with the builder’s preferred lender. However, keep in mind that a home builder can never require you to use their preferred lender. If you have another lender in mind, share with them the incentives offered and ask them to honor it. By now you know, everything is negotiable!
- Energy efficiency
New construction is often equipped with more energy-efficient technology, such as high-efficiency appliances, insulation and air sealing. These efficiencies will save you tons of money on your energy bills! Also, new builds are better for your health — literally! New homes are less likely to have health concerns or toxic materials that might be found in older homes. Chances are you won’t have to worry about asbestos, lead paint, mold and other harmful toxins.
Now, let’s look at the flip side of the build or buy dilemma.
- Less negotiating power
Negotiation is always delicate business in real estate, and even more so when purchasing a new construction. Builders are reluctant to negotiate the base prices on their homes because it will affect the comps of their development and also have every other buyer expecting the same discount. However, they may very well offer some design center discounts or financial incentives, so pursue these instead!
Having your own real estate agent is always important, especially when purchasing new construction. An experienced agent knows the advantages and disadvantages of working with different builders in your area and brings a creative and resourceful mind to the negotiation table.
The whole construction process is highly dependent on weather—affecting contractors and the receiving of materials. Mother Nature dictates your closing date more than any party involved in the contract.
- All builders are not created equal
How do you ensure you’re getting a reputable home builder? References, reputation and years in business. Ensure you do your research and always get an independent inspection. That several hundred dollar investment is well worth the cost!
- Options are sometimes limited
You may not be able to get EXACTLY what you have in mind. Customization does have its limits and chances are likely that you’ll have to choose between a limited number of finishes provided by the builder.
- Upgrades are expensive
Unexpected out-of-pocket expenses have a way of sneaking up on home buyers. The base price listed on the signs does not include add-on options. Prepare yourself with a reserve to cover any desired upgrades like outside living areas and built-ins.
Remember to ask about landscaping and fencing. Unfinished landscaping or fencing will have to be finished at your own cost and can be expensive.
It pays to take the time to research and consider all of these factors before beginning your home buying journey. Whether you build it or buy it, the best decision you can make is an informed one. You’re well on your way!