Energy Efficiency - newer homes are going to be more energy efficient. A 13 SEER A/C is the current standard. You can think of a SEER rating like miles per gallon on your car. With a 13 SEER, this is going to save you about 60% on your utility bills. They will have the low-e windows that will keep your home cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter and help fade your furniture less. Some builders are offering PEX plumbing which will expand and contract unlike copper and has a 25 year transferrable warranty. More info here: http://www.zurnpex.com/Default.aspx?tabid=198 Some builders are building Green Built North Texas homes now which is where the trend is going and all homes will be mandated to be built to this code in about 5 years or so according to experts. More info on GBNT Builders: http://www.greenbuiltnorthtexas.com/#Participating_Builder_M Homes built prior to even 2005 are less energy efficient than new homes. If power consumption is important to you, older homes will not be green built homes and will produce more emmissions than a Green Built Home.
Fortunately, FHA has raised the loan limits, so now instead of being able to only buy a $206k home under FHA, they now allow $271k in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. So, this will allow you to buy in more new and resale neighborhoods now than ever before. Of course, there are more loan options than FHA, but this is one option that gives some first time homeowners more purchasing power than they had before.
Also, you can look at the URL I posted below and you can see the foreclosures as they are listed DAILY on the MLS in the areas in which you're interested. The best buy is going to depend on the property itself. Some sellers are extremely motivated. Some foreclosures are better deals. It just depends on the home itself. We'd be happy to help in any way we can.
New is great as well. You usually get a great warranty and that helps give you a peace of mind.
Foreclosures typically need some work if they are priced low. Foreclosures that need little or no work typically are priced close to market value.
Do not forget about relocation properties. The companies who hold these properties are usually even more inclined go bargain than banks on foreclosures. Ask your real estate agent for a list of these or call or email me. There are easy ways to find them that most agents are not aware of.
What are you qualified to purchase
I would recommend to work with a season agent who knows the foreclosure market, and new homes if you visit my website http://www.lynn911.com there is close to 4,000 Dallas home foreclosures posted, including all the Dallas new homes
Place it all on paper when you locate several homes and compare apples to apples, that will provide you the answers for your short and long term personal and financial goals
FYI I have been on property of GREAT Plano home foreclosures, and Frisco home foreclosures new construction move in quality below market value
Contact my office if I can be of further assistance 972-699-9111
Your best bet is to decide what are the most important things for you as a home buyer. This is one of the largest purchases you will make in your lifetime. Having a team of professionals to guide you along the way is a great way to get the right home for you and your family. These professionals should include a Realtor who is working in YOUR best interest and mortgage broker who can find you the best rates.
If you decide to build a new home, keep in mind that the sales consultant at the model home does not work for you, they work in the best interest of the builder. Buying new has some great advantages like choosing your floorplan, location, colors, flooring type, etc. Now is a good time to buy a new home because builders would rather sell several houses with less profit than one house with more profit. In the end, it's just a business decision for them.
If you decide to look into foreclosures you will want to keep in mind that you are getting a good price on a used home. You won't have the luxury of choosing the paint colors or flooring (unless it's in poor shape & you have to replace it). While there are some good prices out there, please know that the previous owner was unable to pay their previous mortgage and may not have had the funds to maintain the home properly. Therefore, it's very important for you to have a home inspection prior to the purchase of your home.
If you need anything further, please feel free to call anytime.
North Texas Top Realtors
As for foreclosures, you may be able to acquire them with more equity at purchase, however consider most are in need of some renovations.
You can search the MLS on my site, and others at no cost.
Lifestyle - Do you like to tinker on your home? Do you love having projects to do? Paint? Fix things up? Or, would you prefer to spend your time relaxing? Entertaining? Participating in sports? Leisure time?
Savings - Do you have money saved up for repairs? Warranty? Trade service call fees? Your portion of estimated charges? Items not covered under warranty? Here is the website for American Homeshield which is a popular home warranty company: http://www.ahswarranty.com/homeowners/faqs.jsp#basic-warranty.
Many people think if they get a home warranty on a re-sale home that it's just the same as hacing a warranty on a new home. With a new home, the home is covered "bumper to bumper" for the first year as long as you do the required maintenance - change filters, etc. Then, the 2nd year is quite often everything behind the walls like the plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and wiring. The roof will usually have 20-40 year warranty depending on the builder. Then, each component of the home will have it's own warranty like the A/C condenser unit, appliances, foundation, structure, patio/sidewalk//porch, windows, etc. There is no fee for the repair of these items with the builder's warranty even if several contractors are required to fix the job.
What's important to you in a lot? Is that a major consideration for you? Or, not really? Do you want something that will let the morning sun in the breakfast area? Do you want a big back yard where you can have b-b-ques? Do you want a gentle slope? Do you want a tiered slope at the back so you can put in a garden back there and put in some gardening logs to separate the yard? Is a pool important to you? Typically, you will not recoop your investment of the pool when you put it in, so it's nice to get a home with a pool that's already been installed if that's a must have for you.
What about price point? Usually new communities at a lower price point are at the outskirts of town with less services, shopping and restaurants available. If the price point is higher and it's closer in town, the lots will typically be smaller and sometimes there will be less square footage. If older architecture appeals to you, tree lined streets and neighborhoods that are built up that have typically seen their appreciation already (yes, there are exceptions) with larger bedrooms and more defined spaces for a lower price, then you may want to explore re-sale homes.
Do you like design selections already being made for you? Do you like to walk in and see the finished home? Complete with custom paint colors on the wall, wood floors and intercom systems? Or, would you prefer to make your own design selections and make your own mark on the home? Builders typically do have completed homes, but they will not have as much character, let's say, as pre-owned homes. They will typically be finished out in neutral colors to appeal to as many people as possible. Pre-owned homes are going to reflect the personal tastes of that homeowner. Builders always have some sort of incentive package going on that you can choose to put options into your new home or take some off the price. Lots of times, you can include items like blinds, garage door opener and refrigerator... again depending on price point. Could be Viking appliances, fireplace for your outdoor living space and Klipsch audio equipment for your media room.
Community - what type of community would you like to live in? Do you like to live in an older, established neighborhood with big trees and people who've typically lived there a while? Usually, there will be more grocery stores, dining, movies, and other conveniences around in this type area. You won't use as much gas going from place to place. It could possibly be closer to your work. Or, would you prefer to move in somewhere where it's new and you're just starting out in the area the same as everyone else? The higher the price point, the closer the community will be to a more developed area typically. For example, if you are looking at the $150k range, this is going to be further on the outskirts of town than if you are looking in the $450k range.
Resale value - You don't want to buy at the top or bottom end of any neighborhood. Let's say if you were to suddenly get transferred in 2 years and need to sell your home, you want to make sure you can get out of it and won't lose money in our "savings bond" Texas market with steady growth of around 3-6% on average. You need someone who knows the area, the comps, what the trends are, and who can negotiate confidently on your behalf.