Why First-Time Buyers Should Keep New Homes on Their Radar
In the market to buy your first home? Ask your friends, relatives, coworkers – chances are they will have a negative story or two to share. Worn-out appliances, rotting siding, surprises you didn’t see in the photos, and of course going back and forth on closing costs. Buying a used home can be exhausting, but it’s cheaper than buying new, right? That may not be the case. By carefully weighing your options and punching a few numbers into your calculator, you may find that buying a new home may net you the best deal. Here are some reasons why you should keep an eye out for new construction homes during your first hunt.
New Homes are Easier to Personalize
It can be difficult finding a home that perfectly caters to you. There always seems to be one little bit missing. Maybe the previous homeowner had an affinity with hot pink. Ok, maybe it won’t be that bad, but a fresh coat of paint is first on the minds of many used home buyers. Whether it’s painting, flooring, appliances or otherwise, molding a used home around your taste will cost you. With a new construction home, you will make far fewer compromises. Many new home builders will let you play an active role in the design of your home.
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Ease of Mind
Homes go through a lot in their lifespan. If you are purchasing an older home, hiring a home inspector is a must. Paying hundreds of dollars for an inspector to find out that your dream home, which seemed so perfect at first, is riddled with major defects like foundation damage, can be a crushing experience.
A new home doesn’t just give you peace of mind by being brand new. Many times, the builder will provide a substantial home warranty. A ten-year warranty by a reputable home builder will cover your home’s structural integrity, electrical, plumbing, materials and other areas of concern.
Old and outdated is never a good mix, whether it be an electrical device or a support beam. A new home will come loaded with a variety of safety features, many of which might not be found in older homes. Even simple technologies like safety beams in garage doors and circuit breaks in bathrooms may not be present in homes built 20 years ago.
Each year, home builders must meet steeper and steeper safety standards. This means that you as a first-time buyer won’t have to go back and forth with a seller on remedying all the safety concerns unearthed by your home inspector and will instead have the peace of mind that only a new home can afford.
Modern Electrical Infrastructure
Technology moves fast, and unless your home-to-be was built in the last few years, chances are that you will have to perform some upgrades. Internet speeds, for instance, are just getting faster. Older cables cannot handle the bandwidth of today’s high-speed internet. This means that your home’s internet connection could be running at a slower speed than what you are paying for. But this is assuming you buy a home that is fewer than 10 years old. Go any older than that, and you will see a home littered with relics of the past like a landline connection – scary, I know.
Maintenance & Repair
Buying an older home will almost always come with compromises. The most common of these is forking up cash for repairs. Whether it's replacing a heater, fixing a clogged sink, or doing spot repairs to a leaky roof, a used home will require an array of work. A new home obviously won’t require any work – its move-in ready.
But there’s another hidden cost you must consider when purchasing an older home. The home may look great now, but what about in a couple of years? If the home is on the cusp of needing a new roof, for instance, then you could be looking at a serious expense if the repair isn’t covered by your insurance. Remember, a fifteen-year-old home can look great, but is only a few years away from requiring repairs that come from normal wear and tear.
A new home will be vastly superior to a home that is just 5 years older in terms of energy efficiency. Advances in technologies around window panes, insulation, and home appliances mean that less energy is wasted, which can quickly add up. Stoves, refrigerators, dryers, washers, washing machines, water heaters and HVAC units are just a few of the energy-guzzling devices that are scattered in and around a home.
What’s better still, many modern home builders are beginning to incorporate smart devices into their homes. These IoT devices provide an even greater degree of control and efficiency. Smart refrigerators can cycle on and off states to conserve power, smart thermostats can regulate temperatures depending on who is home. The energy-saving possibilities really are endless, and probably won’t be found in an older home.
Diahann Young is the Director of Digital Platforms and Innovation at Pulte Homes in Orlando, Florida. She specializes in discovering innovative ways of developing products for home building. Her role with Pulte has strengthened her passion for DIY, design and real estate.