Pros and Cons of Buying a New Construction

If you are in the market for a new home, you have probably wondered whether it would be better to choose an existing home or invest in a newly constructed home. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so to decide which is right for you, it is important to focus on needs and desires. Here are some pros and cons of buying a new construction. 

Pro: Brand New Home 
Buying a new construction means you will be the first to occupy it. Everything is pristine, no one has ever used the oven or the blinds, and there are no hidden surprises. Some people prefer the “lived in” feeling of an existing home, but if you enjoy things that are clean and shiny and new, you will probably enjoy a new construction.

Con: Some Builders Are Not Great
If a home has existed for some time, it is likely that any building problems were fixed long ago. With a new construction, your home’s quality is only as good as its builder. A builder who cuts corners could leave you with a substandard home that has problems from the outset. Guard against this by looking beyond the builder’s website. Check with homeowners who used that builder to find out if they are happy, and search public records for significant complaints. 

Pro: Customization
Exactly how much you get to customize your new home depends on the nature of the construction. You have the most options if you hire an architect, a designer, and a general contractor to start from scratch, and the fewest options if you buy into a new development with a handful of floor plans.

Either way, you will get more choices than you would when buying an existing home, especially if you are interested in things like extra windows or underfloor heating that would be difficult to retrofit. If you enjoy the design process or are particular about everything from trim colors to the placement of light fixtures, building your own home may be the best choice for you.

Con: Costs Can Skyrocket
When buying a new construction, it is important to understand that your initial price is known as the base price. It includes the basic structure in its smallest version (no extra bedrooms or other options) and most basic finishes, and it may or may not include the lot and landscaping. If you walked through a model home, odds are good that the model was filled with upgrades and add-ons that cost extra.

Every customization you make, from wood flooring to granite countertops to recessed lighting, will come at a price. In general, a new construction home costs about 20% more than an existing home, so it is important to keep an eye on the budget as you select options.

Pro: Energy Efficiency
From insulation to windows to energy saver appliances, new construction is typically built for energy efficiency (of course, costlier solutions like dual flush toilets and smart thermostats are generally priced as upgrades). Some existing homes have been updated to improve their energy efficiency, but few have been fully retrofitted. If saving energy is important to you, a new construction home may be your best choice.

Con: Less Haggling
Negotiating the price is standard for an existing home, especially in a slow market. For new construction, though, builders generally avoid lowering the price for fear of setting a precedent. You may be able to find some sort of financial incentive to buy into a specific development, but you should never expect the price to come down.

Pro: Lower Maintenance Costs
New homes typically come with warranties, so if anything goes wrong in the first few years, it is likely covered. This gives you a few years to save money towards the inevitable repairs that will come as the home ages. Buying an existing home gives no such guarantees. Home inspections can help reduce the chances of catastrophic damage happening right away, but a roof with a few years on it is not likely to last as long as a brand new roof, and pipes that were installed 30 years ago are at greater risk of damage than new pipes. Existing homes don’t come with warranties, so it is important to set back money for repairs and maintenance costs right away.

Con: Less Neighborhood Feel
New developments are typically located a long way from services such as shopping and entertainment venues. Everyone in the neighborhood is newly moving in, so there are no established community traditions. If you buy in early, you will be surrounded by a construction zone for months or years to come. If the feeling of community is important to you, consider buying an existing home in an established neighborhood instead.

There is no right answer to the question of whether to buy a new or existing home. Decide what is important to you, consider your budget and goals, and take the time to think through your options. Ultimately, the right home for you is the one that feels right to you.

Let’s Get Started!
If you are looking for a trustworthy and highly experienced real estate specialist in the Santa Cruz area, contact Gregg Camp of Property in Santa Cruz today at (831) 818-7524.

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