A home is usually the single largest investment that a person makes. Most buyers end up spending lots of time and energy either searching for or designing “the perfect home” before signing any contracts. Location, price, market trends, property taxes, HOA fees and the property are factored into the house hunt. Also, you typically have a wish list that includes specific needs (the things you absolutely have to have) and wants (the features you would like but could do without if necessary).
While the home-buying process involves a number of important choices, one of the very first decisions buyers need to make is whether to shop for an existing home or build a new one. Each path has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a look at both sides.
With a new build, you are in complete control, down to the type of wood used for the fireplace mantel. No decision is out of your hands. When your new home is complete, you have the assurance that it is exactly what you dreamed it would be; you’re starting with a blank canvas. You are in the driver’s seat when making decisions on your home’s layout, colors and features. From a chef’s kitchen, spa bath, first-floor master bedroom, a home gym, if there’s something you’ve always wanted, here’s your chance to make it happen.
By definition, with a new house everything is new, including costly components — such as the furnace, water heater, air conditioning unit, kitchen appliances and roof, doors, windows and more. In a new home, most of these components come with a warranty, sometimes for up to 10 years.
Plus many new homes come with the sophisticated wiring that’s needed for high-speed electronics and communication equipment, entertainment centers and security systems. If you care about “green” — whether that means the money you spend on energy bills every month or your concern about the environment — a newly construction is virtually always the better option. Homes built today must meet far tougher national code standards for energy efficiency than just a few years back. Most newly built homes, in fact, come with energy certifications covering walls, roofs, windows, doors and even appliance packages. These compliances lead to lower insurance costs.
Money and features aside, building a house can lead to a level of satisfaction that you can’t achieve through buying an existing home. There is a definite feeling of an emotional connection to living in a new home that you have created. (The new-home smell, no one else has stepped foot (or pets) on your floors.) This is your creation that matches your style and personality, that you designed from scratch.
There are two primary advantages to buying an existing home: convenience and cost.
Even though the process of buying a resale involves numerous steps – such as financing, viewing homes, making offers, home inspections and closing, the convenience of being able to move in right away is compelling enough for many people to choose an existing home over a new build. This may be especially true for buyers on a tight schedule, such as those relocating for a new job or whose children will be starting at a new school.
In many (but not all) cases you get more house for your money when buy an existing home, according to data compiled by the National Association of Home Builders. And in many cases, existing homes are larger than new homes selling for the same price.
Older homes are generally in established neighborhoods with sidewalks and short blocks that make it easy to get around without a car. Neighbors know one another. Kids play together. Additionally, many resale homes are built in master or planned communities, meaning you will have the best amenities available to you and your family. Pools, playgrounds, community spaces and guard gates are potentially a benefit.
They typically have more land than newer properties as a result of changes in land-use patterns. Mature landscaping, thick lawns and exterior upgrades come with a resale. Window treatments, custom closets and finished basements are also part of the lure of an existing home.
On the flip side, the biggest disadvantage of buying an existing home may be that you won’t get exactly what you want. You may not be in love with the floor plan and may wish that half bath on the first floor was a full bath or that there was another bedroom on the main floor. Older homes, in particular, may be functionally obsolete, no longer meeting the needs of most buyers. For example, an otherwise beautiful four-bedroom house may only have one bathroom, or the kitchen may be too small with no room for expansion.
It’s unlikely that you’ll find an existing home that has exactly what you want and is in perfect condition, but remodeling a resale may still be your best option. For more details on the process of whole home remodeling, you should check out our prior posts on remodeling the interior and outside of your home.
Whether you build new or buy an older home, it may be tough to really see the home as your own. Let us help you create a home for you and your children, one that can be cherished for generations. With a custom home or a whole home remodel the outcome will be like no other, unique to your family alone. Joy Design + Build has the capabilities to make your dream home a reality.