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Amy Kohlin's Blog

By Amy Kohlin | Agent in Las Vegas, NV
  • New Construction vs Existing Homes

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Las Vegas, Home Buying in Las Vegas, Going Green in Las Vegas  |  June 20, 2012 11:44 AM  |  1,012 views  |  No comments
    Most people in the past looked at existing home inventory because it was easy and it was already built. You didn't have to take the floor plan on paper and imagine what it could turn into and wait for it to be built. I prefer existing homes because I prefer older homes with character that I can make into whatever I want it to be. I like to take something that is beat up or maybe a bit too well loved and revive it. I love getting my hands dirty by renovating homes. That's just me.

    There is now a rediculously low inventory shortage and it is creating bidding wars on properties that two years ago we couldn't give away. Prices are going up and properties are ending up with sometimes as many as 30 offers on one house. Many people are getting frustrated because they are bidding well above list just to find that they still weren't the highest bid. The problem with bidding well above list is that you are still at the mercy of the appraisal. If the appraisal comes in lower than your bid then you bring the remainder over the appraisal to closing.

    With such a shortage of inventory in the Las Vegas housing market right now some people are looking into new construction homes. There are still builders that are offering incentives and special financing with their new construction homes. Several of the local builders have lessened the incentives because of the low inventory. They have less properties to compete with. Some builders are including granite countertops and stainless steel appliances for no extra up charge. Some are paying 3% of the closing costs. Buyers typically have more buying power by using the builder's lender due to lower rates, giving them a larger budget.

    Some builders have standing inventory and some have homes at varying stages of being construction. Some builders only build as the lots sell. If you buy a dirt lot and build it may take 3-6 months depending on the builder. In homes that are partially built, depending on how far along the builder has gotten, the finish selections may not have been made yet. In that case you still have time to choose your paint, flooring, and countertops.

    Builders are paying attention to trends these days by putting in more green features. One builder in town even has an automated control system that operates from a computer or a smart phone. It will text the owner as the kids arrive home or tell the owner that the temperature is higher than acceptable. It can all be adjusted by phone. Builders are installing dual flush toilets, low E windows, and energy effecient appliances.

    There is another trend that one builder is paying attention to. This builder is paying attention to living situations and lifestyle changes. More parents are moving in with the kids and more kids are moving home to live with their parents due to the economy. This builder has essentially built two houses in one. There are two kitchens, two living rooms, two entrances, even separate zoned heating and cooling. This is perfect for those types of situations.

    Prices on new construction homes are a bit higher than existing homes. This sometimes also plays a part in the appraisal like with overbidding but builders know where their prices can be.

    Please contact me if you are looking to buy a new home or an existing home in Las Vegas. I have access to complete builder inventories and the incentives they are offering. That way you aren't driving all over town a $3.50+ per gallon to find that needle in a haystack. I can look at the list and weed out the ones that are too big, too small, too expensive, etc.

    It is important to have an agent even with new construction. It's not like buying a pair of shoes or a gallon of milk. Buyers don't deal with the ins and outs of real estate on a daily basis but I do. My job is to represent my client and look out for your best interests. The builder's representative is representing the builder. Builders are fair and above board but it's good to have someone in your corner just for you.

    Amy Kohlin
    EXIT Las Vegas Realty Center

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