New and used prices on comparable homes, in my area, are the same (N VA). Are there advantages of buying an older home, besides immediate possesion?

Asked by David, Purcellville, VA Sat Nov 5, 2011

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Marge Bennett’s answer
Marge Bennett, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Sat Nov 5, 2011
more mature landscaping, sometimes more upgrades, window treatments, paint other than builder's white, fenced yard, etc. Also, you might like a more established neighborhood. Might like the floorplan better too. Plusses on the new side, up to the newest codes, Builders warrantees, etc
1 vote
Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Sat Nov 5, 2011
You must mean an older home vs a new one to be built since at closing you can move into any of them so there is no difference in when you can posses it.

Established homes often have had any settling issues dealt with, nail pops dealt with and might have window dressings done which will save a lot over a new house. Yard maintenance is probably done in an established house more than a newly built one.
1 vote
Lenn Harley, Agent, Purcellville, VA
Mon Jan 16, 2012
New home builders are smart. They watched the real estate market and consistantly lowered the base prices of their models over the past 5 years and stayed closed to the average resale market. New homes have been reduced in price in Northern Virginia by about 25% over the past 4 years.

New home builders, however, are not burdened with the myriad of problems associated with many resale properties, no foreclosures and no short sales. Builders priced based on cost/plus based on market conditions

Private owners however, if they have owned their home for more than 5 years or more, may have equity but are reluctant to sell at today's market prices. Their homes are overpriced for the market because those owners remember what the value of their homes was 6-10 years ago and are reluctant to sell at today's prices.

The short sale market puts every contract at the mercy of the seller's lender and buyers may enter a contract of sale in good faith only to have the house go to foreclosure after 3-6 months of waiting. This is not a problem with new construction.

New construction offers the builder's and manufacturer's warranties and is generally repair free for some time. Resales on the other hand may come with a number of problems and may be costly after closing.

All things considered, unless a buyer needs quick occupancy, new construction is a great option.

Lenn Harley
Lovettsville, VA, 800-711-7988
0 votes
Danilo Bogda…, Agent, Reston, VA
Sun Nov 6, 2011

The prices may be the same, but what you get for your money is not the same. You will pay a premium for having a new construction home over an existing home. Why? Because it's new. It's similar to buying a car - you can pay about $45K for a brand new fully loaded Mercedes C350 or you can pay the same for an excellent condition, 4 year old, decent mileage S550. Some people will go for C350 while others will go the S550 - it's personal preference.

Regardless of which you may think you would rather go for, you should check out all your options. Have your Buyer's Agent get you all of the info on all new construction builders/communities in your price point in the areas you're interested in. Have them take you to see the model homes (some builders have models located in communities other than the ones you're interested in). Have your Buyer's Agent give you a list of all the current builder incentives, lot releases, etc. And have your Buyer's Agent give you the inside scoop on their and their clients' experiences with each builder in the area whether it be a local or nation builder with local presence.

As far as advantages of one versus the homes are just that, new. The new smell, the lack of wear and tear, you getting to choose where everything goes (i.e. outlets, ceiling fans, HDMI points), you getting somewhat of a choice of the look and color of cabinets, etc. You also get the builder's warranty. The disadvantages are that you have to deal with all of the construction around you until they finish the community, the switch of the HOA from the builder to the future HOA management, the settling of the house (i.e. nail pops, dry wall tape, etc) and what some say to be lesser construction and attention to detail than "how they used to build them".

As for existing homes, the house has already settled and the previous owner(s) have more than likely addressed those issues. You may also find than an existing older home has been renovated with higher quality materials and looks better than a new home for the same price. For example...your new home has builders' "level 1" granite, decent cherry cabinets, their standard hardwood floors and the typical builder secondary bathrooms choice of materials. But the resale home has really expensive and awesome looking granite, top of the line cherry cabinets and high-end, wide plank hardwood floors and the secondary bathrooms have been renovated with top of the line contemporary vanities including granite and cabinets, awesome and expensive tile work (floor and walls), top of the line fixtures/faucet, etc.

There's more to it than just this, but this gives you an idea of some of the differences and just how much there really is to consider. If you would like to chat in more detail about the rest of the differences and what to consider, give me a call or email me anytime. I have worked with/represented many new construction home buyers in Loudoun County/NoVA and stay in constant contact with sales reps at all of the new (and future) new home communities and developments in the area.

Danilo Bogdanovic
Real Estate Consultant/REALTOR(r)
0 votes
Lisa Moroniak, Agent, Ashburn, VA
Sun Nov 6, 2011
Definitely consider BOTH resale and new construction. There are as many different viewpoints on one versus the other as there are people giving their opinion. The bottom line is that you need to find what is *the best fit for your family* - this is usually based on variables such as location, layout, interior appointments, cost of immediate and longer-term maintenance, schools, community and local conveniences. If you follow the 80/20 rule - getting 80% of your needs met - you could end up going either way.

Starting with a proper consultation, your agent should act as your guide throughout the process of selecting your next home. Consider interviewing a few with a checklist of questions to best prepare yourself.

All my best,

Lisa Moroniak | REALTOR® | Service360°
SFR - Short Sale & Foreclosure Certified
Keller Williams Realty
Phone: 703-635-0388
Fax: 703-679-1701
Licensed in VA
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0 votes
Chris Ognek, Agent, Fredericksburg, VA
Sat Nov 5, 2011
A great option that I think gives you the best of a new construction without the premium prices is to purchase your home with an FHA 203k home renovation loan. A 203k loan allows you to buy any home "as is" and include all the costs of repairs and renovations in with your loan. Check out the website below to see what some of my clients and I have done with homes. I've never helped anyone buy a new construction. Once I show them what we can do with a home renovation loan, they've always opted for the renovation.
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Cindy Jones, Agent, Alexandira, VA
Sat Nov 5, 2011
Whether you are buying new construction or a re-sale home you should have an independent home inspection. This gives you a heads up to any problems and with new construction you can have a pre-drywall inspection and a final inspection on your own PLUS the builders inspection.

You can find a number of builders with spec homes that are ready within 30 days. Unless you are looking at a custom home on your own lot building a home at an underway development doesn't take any longer than closing a short sale and sometimes less.

Builders offer a number of incentives often tied to their lender and title company. My clients have found in today's market that the rates and fees tend to be the same. The choice really comes down to the home you want, the neighborhood you want to live and your price point. Both new or re-sale have pros and cons and only you can decide which one meets your needs.
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Vivianne Rut…, , Fairfax County, VA
Sat Nov 5, 2011

The *new car* rule does NOT necesarilly apply to homes. Typically, you will pay much more and receive less for a new construction home than you would for a comparable re-sale home ..... you will NOT necessarily get a *better* home as you would with a new car, except the *new, never lived-in home smell* :-)

If you decide to purchase a new construction home, be prepared to deal with various new home problems over the next 2 years - hopefully all covered by builder warranty.
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Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Sat Nov 5, 2011
That's a tough question to answer, but in reality prices are based on what the market will absorb. Keep in mind that every home is different and while they may all meet the basic needs of a potential buyer, each home will have unique advantages and disadvantages. The only "generic" comment I can come up with is that you may find older homes are on larger lots. I regularly work in Purcellville, Lovettsville and western Loudoun, so if you're interested in talking with me about the specific home style of interest to you, then I can probably offer a better explanation. Feel free to reach out to me at 703-669-3142 or
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