In all sales there are those buyers who prefer to purchase only new – never used. Homes are no different. There are those buyers who want to have the opportunity to choose their upgrades and finishes and even their lot and they don’t mind paying the new construction premium. Conversely there are buyers who want to be able to move in right away and don’t mind that that home has been previously occupied. They prefer the lower purchase price that is usually a feature of resale real estate.
So which kind of buyer are you? Do you want a home somewhat customized to suit your taste and lifestyle containing the newest energy efficiency and technology? Or do you prefer a resale house that may be in a specific neighborhood where newly constructed houses are rare or you may be quite handy and relish the opportunity to take an old house and transform it.
Let’s talk about some of the positives associated with a new home purchase.
If you care the money you spend on energy bills every month or your concern is about the environment — a newly constructed home is almost always the better option. Homes built today regularly meet or exceed Energy Star and WaterSense standards, which are national code standards for energy efficiency that are far tougher than just a few years back. Virtually no resale homes offer certifications because they were built to much lower standards — often decades ago, when energy usage was an afterthought.
You can retrofit many elements of an existing house to improve its energy efficiency, but it’s costly. Even then, because of design shortcomings, you may not be able to achieve the level of efficiency that is now routine with a newly constructed home.
Technology and space
A resale house may include room layouts, ceiling heights and lighting that may be difficult to retrofit to today’s sophisticated wiring needs for high-speed electronics and communication equipment, entertainment centers and security systems. In addition buying an older home means that you may have to spend substantial sums of money to take down walls where that’s possible — some are so-called load-bearing walls that are not easily moved — to enlarge rooms in order to create the flowing, more open living space that is preferred today.
Newly built homes come with modern fire retardants in materials such as carpeting and insulation, unlike most existing houses. Builders also hard-wire smoke and carbon monoxide detectors into their homes, making it unnecessary for new owners to install less-dependable battery-powered detectors. Many builders also back up their hard-wired detectors with battery power to handle electrical outages.
The decision to buy a newly built or used home is ultimately best made by each home buyer. Now you know the questions to ask, and the relative costs involved, in order to make the best decision for you.