Many home buyers want a new-construction house. Their reasons vary, with a few common themes that most home buyers give for picking new construction. The most common reason given is the feeling that comes with living in a house where everything is fresh and new.
Design and Construction Week explains that a new Trulia survey shows buyers prefer new houses 2 to 1 over existing homes. There’s no denying the appeal, but not everyone can afford to buy new. The cost is usually higher than existing homes, but it might also even out over time. Older homes might need more maintenance.
Before you make a decision, whether new or existing home, consider the top 5 reasons why buyers have their heart set on new construction.
New Construction Value #1: Modern Features
Living in a home with modern features is just nicer. This doesn’t have to mean a house has no traditional charm, just that carpet or hard flooring is new, cabinets are in perfect condition, there might be a center island and granite countertops, and appliances sparkle.
The downside is that new isn’t always better. For example, a new laminate floor will not serve you as well as an older, solid wood floor. Inexpensive, contractor-grade lighting looks great when it’s first “born,” but it might not look great in 5 years.
New Construction Value #2: Spacious Floor Plan
There’s no getting around it, older homes are often less spacious. Closets are smaller, the kitchen might seem too far removed from the rest of the house, and there might not be enough bathrooms. New construction is designed for the demands of modern families.
Open-concept living looks gorgeous when you’re viewing a model home. Everything is in its place, and the appearance is bright. Living in an open-concept home is something altogether different. You’ll need to stay vigilant about keeping clutter at bay, and your decor from one open space to the next will need to coordinate better than in a more traditional home.
New Construction Value #3: Control in Construction
Control during the construction phase can mean getting a bathroom at one end of a hallway instead of the opposite end. You might also be able to get additional closets, and have wiring for a wall-mounted television installed before the walls go up. You can pick your cabinets, lighting, flooring and paint colors.
Unfortunately, with this control comes a very steep price tag. (Read: Buying a New Home From a Builder is Different) Most model homes have features that are not standard. So if you want the cherry cabinets, you’ll pay extra on top of the home’s base cost. And for every alteration you want in the floor plan, you can expect to pay more.
New Construction Value #4: Reduced Maintenance
Older homes certainly need maintenance. Plumbing might need an upgrade, and wiring might also need updating to support the demands of more family electronics. Siding might need a paint job, the roof might need replacing, and the driveway might be cracked. With a new home, you have the full lifespan of everything in your house, instead of somewhere in the middle or approaching end of life.
With new construction, you’ll still have maintenance. (Read: House Age: What it Does (Doesn't) Tell Us) Contractors may use “contractor-grade” materials for their lower cost, as they meet code requirements. In an older home, features might not be new, but they might be a higher quality. You can get high quality from your builder, but that will probably cost extra.
New Construction Value #5: Energy Efficiency
Older homes can be hot during summer and cold in winter. There’s a lot to be said for a new house with no drafts, plenty of insulation, and brand new heating and air conditioning system. With new construction, you’ll get a home that meets current building codes for energy efficiency.
With an older home, you’ll probably need to upgrade insulation, and maybe consider a new furnace or air conditioning system. Replacing windows can also help. However, in historic homes, original windows are critical to the home’s value.
A base model new home won’t look like the model on site, because those are where builders showcase their finest work. Be sure to get all of the details about what’s included and what isn’t. If your heart is set on a fireplace, you might be surprised to arrive on site one day to see a blank wall where you expected it to be. Get everything in writing.
Older homes are worth considering, too. You’ll get traditional details, and live in a more established neighborhood. The layout might not be ideal, but that might be a workable sacrifice for living near good schools.
Whatever you decide, go for quality regardless of age. A new construction home that is the bare minimum to meet code might not serve you well in the long run. But an older home might need a new roof and siding within 5 years. Buy a home that’s built to last, and you probably won’t be disappointed.
Are you in the market for a new home? Which camp do you fall into? New construction, or older and traditional?