Maybe your dream home has the intricate details that you usually find only in older construction
– wainscoting and crown molding in the interior, the front porch with a swing, an older tree shading the back yard, and the white picket fence.
Or perhaps your dream home has all the modern lifestyle conveniences – open floor plan in the living and dining spaces, large windows, connected, “smart” appliances and security systems, and minimalist design elements.
As I’ve shared before, whether you go for a brand new construction or an existing home, both types of properties have their own set of pros and cons when it comes to buying them. Which type of home is right for your dream home will depend on what factors are most vital for your personal lifestyle.
Choose new construction and build your dream home
If you are making a home purchase that’s still in the pre-construction phase, you may be able to customize many or even most of the details. Many home builders will give you the option to add, change, and/or remove design elements that will give you the exact dream home you desire. For example, a full bathroom and bedroom downstairs instead of a half bath is great for aging in place needs. If it’s a new subdivision, you might even be able to pick out the lot you like best.
Very early in the building process, you could have more room to customize. For example, if the walls aren’t complete, you might find you can add extra electrical outlets in each of the rooms like I did to ensure I had plenty of places to plug in my computer and all our electronic gizmos. Or maybe you want custom wiring for surround sound in the family room or media room. Perhaps you could move the laundry room to the top floor instead of the main floor. You might be able to get a separate “mudroom” entrance as my cousins once did. With active youngsters of my own, I LOVED that idea!
If it’s further on in the building process, you may still be able to add marble countertops, an island, and custom cabinets in the kitchen. Your master bath could be amplified with a steam shower, a spa tub, and some interesting European fixtures. Or you could adjust the plans to add one of my personal favorites, a large shower that is easily accessible – whether on the first floor or second. Be sure to ask your REALTOR to schedule an appointment with the builder to discuss and fully understand which features are included, and which ones are extra.
New homes save with fewer repairs & more efficiency
Once your dream home home is complete, all you’ll need to do is move in. New appliances will be under warranty for a few years if they need repairs, and will likely work well for several years without needing fixes. Often, new construction is under a builder’s warranty, so any repairs needed in the first year should be covered. And some home warranty insurers such as Old Republic Home Warranty provide extended home warranties at a discounted rate! I had Old Republic’s new construction 4 year warranty that cost much less than their regular warranty for resold homes. It started on day 1 of the second year. I actually used it in the second year and was grateful I had it!
New homes often contain energy efficient and green appliances, like high-efficiency stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, heaters, or air conditioning units. These energy-saving appliances, along with good insulation and energy-efficient windows, will help you save money on monthly utility bills. My clients who have bought brand new homes have GREAT utility bills! Better than mine even though my house is only 20 years old!
New homes also often use new building materials that require less maintenance — for example, using composite siding instead of wood, which doesn’t need annual repainting. You won’t need to spend as much to maintain your new home.
If you customized it during pre-construction, you won’t need to spend any money on renovations or upgrades for several more years. You can just enjoy it and not worry about saving for major home repairs.
Research to make a good new home purchase
Before you put in your offer, do some research on the builder. Do they have a good reputation? What else have they built? Did their other new properties have issues such as poor construction or unfinished details?
You like the model home, but will you like where it’s situated? After you look at the home itself, come back to the neighborhood to see what it’s like at different times of the day. Walk around during the day and in the evening, and see how you like the area.
Brand new communities usually attract similar types of buyers—urban professionals, couples, or young families, for example. These will be your neighbors, so you’ll want to make sure that you want to be part of this new, homogeneous community.
It’s very important to realize you may also need to be flexible with the move-in date into your dream home. Builders will only be able to let you move in if they can meet their construction schedule. If the wiring is delayed, the walls can’t be finished. And because there are so many construction tasks that are dependent on the completion of prior tasks, schedules tend to slip. Even something as simple as a walk-through that finds problems, or a mortgage company’s delay in visiting the site can delay your move a week or more. Bad weather can delay it even longer. I always recommend not putting anything into cement so that you don’t end up paying for equipment that doesn’t get used – and then you have to pay again when you do use it!
Existing homes offer more variety and established neighborhoods
Existing resale homes are those that have generally been built and lived in between the 1920’s and 1990’s. In Roseville, there are also plenty of homes built in the 2000s and newer that are being sold. With existing resale homes, you will get more variety in home styles, as different types of construction have gone in and out of style throughout the decades. Within one neighborhood, you may be able to find a mix of different styles like Victorian, modern Tudor cottages, tract style, ranch or split-ranch, or contemporary homes.
Resale homes are situated in established neighborhoods, which may have more amenities nearby that a new home in a brand new subdivision may not have. Your new neighborhood may have restaurants, cafes, and boutiques within walking distance or an easy drive.
You might also have access to more supermarkets, dry cleaners, discount stores, and gas stations nearby. An established neighborhood might have a nice park, running path, or playground for the kids to enjoy. You might also be closer to a library or the post office. And all the schools should already be existing and known.
Not only that. Resale homes usually have fully landscaped homes and often have mature landscaping offering shade and extra beauty, while saving you time and money by not having to install the landscaping yourself.
Resale homes can be a less expensive purchase
If you’re considering a resale home, you may be able to get into a beautiful, unique property at a lower purchase price than a new home.
There are many more resale homes available than there are new homes — according to the National Association of Homebuilders, generally about 10 times as many. With such a large pool to buy from, the market for resales can be more competitive. You may have more room to negotiate the selling price of the home. With a brand-new construction, you won’t likely be able to have the same kind of negotiating power.
Before putting a home on the market, sellers often make home renovations or remodel parts of their homes to make them more attractive to buyers and to be able to potentially increase the list price. If the resale home has a brand new, modern kitchen, an updated bathroom, or even a new roof or upgraded windows, you could end up getting a home that’s comparable to new construction without having to pay the potential more expensive new-home list price.
Existing resale homes have already been inspected at least once on the last sale, so you will know about any potential structural problems or repairs that have been made on the home. Knowing the track record on your potential home will help you avoid purchase mistakes—you’re much less likely to end up with a property that has a rotting roof, dangerous electrical wiring, or a crumbling foundation. With a new home, you could end up with incomplete construction or major issues that you didn’t know about because they weren’t yet documented. (Sounds like a car I once bought new. The make and model had a great track record. But 3 years and several trips to the service department later, I discovered my particular year model had a dismal track record. No more brand new cars for me for just that reason!)
How to make a good resale home purchase
Before you go too far down the road to a purchase, you can protect your purchase by first having the home inspected. A good home inspector will document all flaws, no matter how small they appear. If the inspector finds any major problems, like foundation cracks or leaky roofs, you may be able to counter offer and get the seller to either fix it or reduce the selling price.
Even if the inspection doesn’t uncover any major issues, you will need to expect the unexpected. Older homes will eventually need replacement appliances, a new air conditioning unit, or a plumbing repair. As long as you know that before you buy a resale home, you can plan for surprise repairs.
With an older home, you may want to eventually remodel parts of it. Will you be happy living in your house while you’re doing major work on the living room or the kitchen? If you know that it would disrupt your lifestyle too much, you may want to consider whether you really want to buy an older property.
Either Way – Call Kaye – 916-768-0127
Whether you choose to buy a new home or an existing resale home, the best way to get started on achieving your dream home goal is to speak with your trusted real estate professional. We will have access to both new properties and resale homes that may fit your goals, and will know which neighborhoods will serve your needs. And with new homes, you will have someone looking out for your interests, while the new home company will have their sales agent watching out for theirs. 🙂
Contents of this article...
- Should You Buy a New or Resale Home?
- Choose new construction and build your dream home
- New homes save with fewer repairs & more efficiency
- Research to make a good new home purchase
- Existing homes offer more variety and established neighborhoods
- Resale homes can be a less expensive purchase
- How to make a good resale home purchase
- Either Way – Call Kaye – 916-768-0127