If you’re thinking about purchasing a new construction home as opposed to an existing home, it’s important to recognize that each option has benefits and drawbacks. With some help from Zillow and Trulia, I’ve compiled a short list of pros and cons for those thinking of purchasing a new construction home.
WHAT ARE THE PROS?
- MODERN FLOOR PLANS – Newly constructed homes are designed for the way in which we live today with big kitchens, open entertaining spaces, large master suites, bonus rooms and extra storage. You also have a choice of floor plans, allowing you to pick the one that best meets your particular wants and needs.
- FINISHES AND UPGRADES – If you purchase a home before construction begins, you can typically choose your finishes and upgrades – paint colors, counter tops, cabinetry, flooring, lighting and air conditioning.
- EFFICENCY – In most cases, newly constructed homes are more energy efficient than older homes. They have more efficient windows, HVAC systems and lighting. Insulation standards are also higher now than they have been in the past.
- TECHNOLOGY – New homes can be “smarter” than old homes. Many come with a standard suite of new technology that can include alarm systems, speakers, high-speed internet cabling, high-tech thermostats and lighting packages.
- MAINTENENCE COSTS – If you want to avoid unexpected repair costs, new construction may be right for you. Everything is new and typically warrantied so maintenance is limited and significant repairs costs are unlikely for years.
WHAT ARE THE CONS?
- SMALLER LOTS – Newly constructed homes are generally found in developments that have relatively small lots with limited outdoor space. There are certainly some exceptions to the rule, but large yards are hard to come by.
- LANDSCAPING – More often than not, new developments lack mature or distinctive landscaping compared to older, more established neighborhoods. Shady, tree-lined streets are in short supply.
- EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, YOU SEE YOUR HOUSE – New developments have a limited number of floor plans and color schemes, making it difficult to distinguish one house from another.
- COSTLY UPGRADES – Model homes are designed to make you fall in love so they generally feature upgrades that aren’t included in the base price for a particular floor plan. Fancy lighting and technology packages, high end appliances and high quality cabinetry and flooring are great, but they can add as much as $50-75K to the advertised base price of a home.
- REMOTE LOCATIONS – Most newly constructed homes are located in developments at a distance from city centers and/or amenities. If a more established location is important to you, you may want to consider purchasing an older home and remodeling it to suit your needs.
When my buyers are considering new construction versus an older home, I encourage them to focus on their priorities. Does new construction check off more of the boxes on their list than an older home or vice versa? Does one make the most sense to you?
Miles Eaton is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes. Click here to e-mail Miles or feel free to give him a call at (253) 355-5862.