Think about the home you would like to live in. There is a good chance it resembles the home you grew up in. Whether it be a large colonial or an urban brownstone townhome. Then again you may want a brand new home with an untouched bathtub and laundry area. Yet again you may want a home with character in an established neighborhood with grown in yards and well worn streets. Neighbors who have been there forever and know everyone on the street. Personal preferences aside, there are pros and cons to every option. One choice does not fit all, so it pays to understand the differences when it comes to an old home or new construction.
There's no question that some people prefer that "new -home smell" and the idea that no one else's feet have been on the carpet. On top of that, many people like to be involved in personalizing their home from the beginning. But most new homes are built in developments with a unified style. They all look alike. They can be as small as cul-de-sac sized developments, or as massive as hundreds of homes on a few acres. Built to the latest codes and standards, they tend to be contemporary in style, energy efficient and more expensive than a resale home of similar size. Established communities, however, allow a buyer to get to know a community and its schools as they have a track record. The opportunity to buy a fixer upper and attain increased equity is a big draw on a resale home, and they may be in a high demand location which is the key to long term equity. Not an easy decision huh? Below are some thoughts of mine designed to give you some assistance in deciding which way to go.
New Home Pros- Energy efficient, Extended warranties, contemporary style and cheaper to maintain.
New Home Cons- Cookie cutter designs, limited negotiating room on price, less character in homes and a higher Mello-Roos and HOA fees.
Existing Home Pros-Availability, prices are more negotiable, established neighborhoods with character and charm. Established track records on known issues and disclosure documents. Schools with a known history.
Existing Home Cons- Generally more maintenance, less energy-efficient, older appliances, amenities and designs. Someone has lived there before you.
In summary, there are advantages to going in either direction. I wanted to use this final paragraph to give you the buyer a few more pointers on which to ponder on before moving forward with buying a home. New homes take longer to appreciate as you will pay more for them at time of purchase. To get the most value, buy late into a new home development. The home will have a value that is closer to the entire market. You are paying a premium for a new home and it will take years to develop any equity and buying late minimizes the price differential. Check on the history of the builder and check out what they have previously built. Go walk the neighborhood on a sunny day when people are out and ask them about the builders and the community. Ask them if they are happy there? Make sure you employ your own realtor when buying new. The agent's at the model home work for the builders who hire them. Their interests lie with the builders who employ them. When buying a resale home make sure you have an inspection! Gather as much information on a home's condition. Don't buy someone else's problems unless you can tackle the solutions. Expect the unexpected. Pipes will break, furnaces fail, electrical wiring becomes worn or outdated. Major repairs can and will happen and you have to be prepared to fix them or bring in a professional. A home warranty will help ease the costs and while it is recommended it doesn't solve all your repair problems. Read the policy!