According to a recent Trulia survey, twice as many people prefer new homes to existing homes. So what qualifies as “new”? “New” means exactly that: just-built properties that have never been lived in before, or homes purchased in the preconstruction phase.
On the flip side, “existing” or resale homes are considered preowned properties, most of which were built between the 1920s and the 1970s. For the same price, two in five Americans — a sizable 41 percent of the population — either somewhat or strongly prefer a newly-built home over an existing one. Existing or older homes have the advantage of architectural charm and sizable lots, and are generally located in more established neighborhoods. Older homes, especially ones that were not meticulously maintained or renovated each decade, usually need a little TLC and are often slightly less expensive than a new-construction home.
However, new-construction homes have advantages that just might outweigh the pluses of their older, more established counterparts. Let’s look at why new construction seems to be the house of choice for so many Americans.
Floor plans designed for the way we live today
One of the biggest advantages of buying a new-construction home is that they are designed and built for today’s lifestyle. They come with the flowing open floor plans and features that meet modern-day demands, including open, eat-in kitchens, walk-in closets, large master baths, more access to outdoor entertaining areas, and even additional storage. Many older existing homes built between the 1920s and the 1990s often lack one or more of those features as part of their original home design.
More choices and more options
Today, more than ever, home builders are offering buyers the ability to customize their homes with a vast number of options. Lighting, flooring, cabinetry, countertops, wall coverings, paint colors, and even landscaping can often be selected from a wide variety of choices. Some of the choices are considered upgrades and will add to your base price, but now builders are adding options that are still considered part of the original price package. You’ll be moving into a home that’s customized for you!
Utilizing new construction materials, just-built homes are usually more energy efficient — and that means potentially lower utility bills. Not only are these newly built homes rated higher for insulation, but many new homes also are incorporating renewable sources of clean energy like solar. All of this new home tech could save you thousands over the course of the years you live in the home.
New technology = smart home
New-construction homes are often equipped with the latest technology built right in. Think cable, alarm systems, speaker systems, high-speed wired Internet, digital thermostats and detectors — when they’re just the flip of a switch away, you save lots of time and money, not to mention holes in the walls.
Fewer maintenance and repair bills
With new-construction or preconstruction purchases, the work is already done for you. You don’t have to do a darn thing. You don’t have to lift a finger (or a hammer). A big financial benefit to a new home is that you won’t have much maintenance to do for quite a while. With modern, new appliances, plumbing, heating, and air, you should be able to live repair-free for a few years.
When you buy new from a reputable and established builder, you are able to include your selected upgrades in the original purchase price and mortgage amount, financing them. When you purchase an older home, you will have to secure a mortgage, buy the home, and then begin renovations on a separate line of funds. That means the money for renovations will have to come directly out of your pocket. This can be especially tough for homebuyers who are low on cash after plunking down a big down payment. New construction, however, allows you to make your choices of upgrades and additions and have those costs incorporated into the overall purchase price of the home. That way, you are able to finance these upgrades rather than pay for them in full, out-of-pocket.
New trumps retrofit
New homes are built with the latest building plans, designs, and materials. Their systems (electrical, plumbing, sewage lines, central heating, and air) already meet today’s codes and standards. It is always much more efficient and practical to have these systems built into a new home, rather than have to upgrade and retrofit existing older systems, which can sometimes mean ripping into the walls, floors, and ceilings to gain access to the key home systems.
When you buy new, you get more time relaxing at home. You won’t be spending all your weekends at home renovation stores as you try to tackle that “honey-do” list of home improvements each week. Buying a new-construction home allows you to enjoy your weekends at home almost as soon as you are unpacked.
Easier on your relationship
While buying a home is never stress-free, buying a new home certainly does avoid the long, drawn-out process of stressful renovations and upgrades that come with buying an older home and fixing it up while you live in it. Yes, there are many advantages to purchasing an older home. However, there are some potential hazards to consider before signing up for the house that will need some serious work, including the strain it can put on your relationship. In fact, according to a survey by Houzz, 12 percent of couples admitted to considering a separation or divorce mid-remodel.