One question that I get a lot is, “What’s recommended: buying new vs resale home?” A new home is one that has never been lived in while an existing home has been lived in by a previous owner. There are Pros and Cons either way that you should consider. Here are my home buying tips for buying a new vs resale home.
PROs for Purchasing a New Home May Include:
Lower maintenance costs during the first years of owning the home.
Lower energy costs because new homes are built with better energy saving materials and equipment than older homes.
More functional home designs and floorplans as well as up-to-date home fixtures.
Latest technology features such as pre-wired for a home computer network.
Possibly the ability to choose paint colors, floor types and colors, exterior colors, and other optional home features.
NOTE: There is typically a substantial markup on these items.
Builder incentives to lower the initial cost to purchase.
Easier to get to know neighbors because everyone is “new.”
PROs for Purchasing an Existing (Resale) Home May Include:
Lower price per square foot than newly built homes.
Better locations and shorter commute times.
Mature landscaping in both the yard and throughout the neighborhood.
Proven track record of home values in the neighborhood.
Lower tax rates since more neighborhood features have already been paid for by home owners.
Sales contracts that are fair to both parties…not one-sided in favor of the builder.
Lower move-in costs (possibly) since home already has window coverings, landscaping, garage door openers, and other items that you will have to buy for a brand new home.
Easier for home inspector to find home defects because more time has passed since the home was constructed. NOTE: New homes may have hidden defects that are impossible for a home inspector to find.
More established school zone boundaries than for new neighborhoods.
Established community activities and events.
Quicker move-in date compared with building a home from scratch in a new neighborhood.
If you decide to buy a new home, make sure that you check out the builder first: http://houston.bbb.org/consumers/. Also make sure that you hire an inspector (read http://www.best2inspect.com/buyersguide.html for more information). And don’t forget to bring your Realtor along when you view new home models! Remember: A Realtor’s job is not “just” helping you find a house to buy…there are over 100 tasks that Realtors may perform for you during the home purchase process! Your Realtor should be on your side because she is your agent. The salesperson at the builder’s model home office is not on your side…as an employee of the builder, he or she is looking out for the builder’s best interest.
Before you decide to buy a new home, make sure you get up-to-speed on new home builder’s warranties at http://www.fairarbitrationnow.org/content/home-court-advantage-how-building-industry-uses-forced-arbitration-evade-accountability (scroll to the bottom and then click “Read the Full Report.”
You will also find these articles interesting:
I don’t want to discourage you from buying a new home…Houston has some really great new home builders. But it’s my job to make sure that you have all the information that you need to make a wise buying decision.
NOTE: The Following rankings are from JD Powers 2010. I’m not aware of a more current list.