The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Construction Home

Home Under ConstructionIf costs were the same, 40 percent of Americans would prefer a new construction home over a pre-existing home. That is compared to 21 percent who would opt for an established home and 39 percent with no preference.

However, fewer than half of those who strongly prefer a newly built house are willing to fork over the additional 20 percent that new builds bring on average. Why is that? Although the newness is enticing, it doesn't single-handedly carry the luster during the home-buying experience.

While shiny and new has its allure, what's actually behind these home buyers' preferences? The following points look at some of the perks and pitfalls of purchasing newly built homes.

Pros of New Construction Homes

  • Customization is a huge benefit. If you make the purchase early enough in the building process, builders may allow you to personalize the home according to your preferences. This means that countertops, flooring, cabinets and colors could be yours to choose.
  • Contemporary style and design is another big-ticket advantage to new construction. Today's modern lifestyle often demands the open floor plan concept, which includes large rooms that flow into the kitchen and eating areas. Older homes tend to have compartmentalized rooms with both a formal dining room and formal living room, whereas newer homes reflect a more unified ambiance. Likewise, new builds often have large master baths, walk-in closets, and eat-in kitchens, which busy people tend to prefer.
  • Little maintenance is necessary for new construction. With the new heating and cooling systems, ventilation, flooring, appliances, and plumbing, there is hardly a need for maintenance. Moreover, many builders sometimes offer a sweet warranty that covers many maintenance needs for several years. According to a 2011 census survey, homes built within the previous four years require approximately $8/month in repairs, whereas owners of older homes incur an average $33/month. The end result is a thicker wallet and much less stress.
  • Being the first person to live in a home is an advantage worth noting. Buyers like the idea of occupying a home before anyone else does. It's nice not to have any associations with the house before you arrive. Plus, you don't have the cooking or living odors, such as cigarette smoke or pets, that may come with previous occupants.
  • Energy-efficiency and eco-friendly housing standards of the modern day help save money and the environment. Today's building materials are more energy-efficient than ever before. Energy-saving windows, efficient HVAC systems and Energy Star appliances help save the owner money on utility bills.
  • Today's technology is considered in just-built homes. Homes are wired for large flat-screen televisions; alarm systems, security systems, and Internet wiring are accounted for; and cable is a given. Not only does this result in much-desired savings, it also reduces the need for unsightly holes scattered throughout the home.

Cons of New Construction Homes

  • Saved money, at least up front, plays a large role in many buyers' decision to purchase an older home. A new home typically costs $290,000 in the United States, according to census data, compared to the average 2016 price of $198,500 for an older home.
  • Homes with history are appealing to a large number of buyers. This treasured past brings character and tradition to a home.
  • Neighbors -- or the lack thereof -- can be a real turnoff in the initial stages of home building. You may be staring out at a string of construction sites rather than humans when you first move into a new neighborhood and wait for homes to be built.
  • Property size and space is often limited in new builds. You may be able to reach across a small swath of grass and touch your neighbor's home, which is less-than-desirable for some people.
  • Time is often not on your side when purchasing a new build. In an older home, you can generally move in within 45 days of signing a contract; in newer homes, the timeline can stretch months.

As with all major decisions, there are pros and cons that accompany the choice. Finding the right home for your needs must consider all of these facets. When in doubt, speak with your real estate agent to hear their opinions and experience with buyers choosing different kinds of homes.

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