The Pros and Cons of Buying New Construction Homes

In the market for a new home? Buying new construction is an enticing option, but what are the pros and cons of such a decision?

The Pros and Cons of Buying New Construction Homes Close
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The Pros and Cons of Buying New Construction Homes

Posted by Gary Ashton on Friday, September 21st, 2018 at 12:13pm.

Home Under Construction If 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? Questions on how to buy a new construction home? What are the pros and cons of buying a house that is newly-constructed? The following points look at some of those pros and cons when purchasing new construction homes in Brentwood and other Nashville area communities.

Pros of New Construction Homes

The "pros" when purchasing a new construction home are numerous.

  • Customization is a huge benefit of buying a new house. 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 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

However, for some buyers, the "cons" of purchasing new construction can outweigh the benefits.

  • 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.

Which is Better for You: an Old House or a New One?

Sometimes a new home isn’t really better than an pre-owned one. It will all boil down to what you really need and how it will fit your way of living.

Everybody has their own special needs, and when it comes to houses sometimes an old house can fit better than a new one. A lot of buyers are enticed to spend a lot of their hard-earned money to buy themselves a new model home. That’s not a bad thing. But if you’re a wise spender, you get to weigh you’re options carefully first before you let go of that hard-earned cash because “new” doesn’t always mean “better” in the real estate business.

Things you should consider when choosing between a pre-owned house and a new one should include:

  • Neighborhood – It’s safe to say that a majority of buyers are lured more by an already developed neighborhood. These developed communities have already been established and usually sports developed trees and mature landscaping that adds charm to the neighborhood
  • Land – New homes may have less land compared to older homes. In most metro centers that’s just how it is. The use of land is changed to fit and meet the market’s trend.
  • Maintenance and Repair – Expect to have more projects done in an existing home. But even if you’re Mr. Handyman you still need to hire a professional home inspector to have the full report on the house. An existing home may offer you more home improvement projects than a new one, that’s for sure.
  • Prices and Taxes – the price of a new home usually costs more than an old one. But an old home usually comes with a complete package like built-ins, landscaping, backyard, etc. On the other hand, if you’re the adventurous type and would like to have everything done on your personal taste then a new home may be of a better fit for you. Regarding taxes, this will depend on the state you’re in. Usually, existing homes have the luxury of having lower property taxes compared to newer ones.

How to Negotiate for a New Construction Home

The process of buying a new construction home is different than negotiating the purchase of an existing home. Oftentimes, a buyer will be purchasing the new construction home from a builder directly, which means that they have different priorities to an individual selling their home. Builders often aren't willing to negotiate in the same way one would with a homeowner, as discounts in the price may incentivize other buyers to ask for the same discounts elsewhere in the neighborhood. Builders are invested in their bottom line, so it's wise to ask for less noticeable discounts, such as additional upgrades or for the builder to pay for closing costs.

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.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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