One of the most important decisions you’ll ever make is to purchase a home. Even with the allure of owning a brand-new home, deciding between new home construction and pre-existing homes can be stressful. There are several key differences between buying a new construction home and an existing one that you should be aware of before making your decision.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, around 1.29 million houses began custom home construction in the United States in 2019. And according to Business Observers, Florida leads the nation in new home construction spending and is leading the nation’s construction surge.
If you’re planning to purchase a new home in the Longboat Key and Sarasota, Florida areas, you have two options: buy a new construction home or purchase a resale property. This article will outline the pros and cons of new home construction, allowing you to compare and contrast your options as you begin the search for your dream home.
The Pros of a New Home Construction
Because of our era’s fast-paced technology, today’s new construction homes provide more benefits than ever before, making them an appealing option in any house search. Here are some advantages to keep in mind when considering a custom home.
Everything is Brand New
When you buy a newly built home, everything is brand-new, reflecting the most recent trends. This implies that any unforeseen repairs will not present themselves for some time.
Purchasing a new construction house provides peace of mind knowing that everything is to code from the foundation to the frame. Appliances, flooring, cabinets, and countertops are all pristine and in perfect condition. Once you move into a new home, there’s no need to worry about renovations or repairs for years to come.
Personalization & Customization
If you want a house that reflects your style, new home construction is the way to go. Starting with your own design, rather than tackling a remodel, is the more cost-effective option if you want personalization.
One of the most exciting aspects of new construction is customizing your new home. It gives you the freedom to express yourself with finishes that reflect your particular interests, preferences, and personality. You can personalize your new construction home with the following features:
- Exterior elevation
- Floor plan
- Doors and windows
- Outdoor kitchen
- Light fixtures
- Interior and exterior paint colors
- Upgraded appliances
- Trim and wall details
- & more
New home construction requires less maintenance because everything is brand new, from the roof to the HVAC system to the appliances. As a result, you will be able to forecast how much homeownership will cost you every month with greater accuracy. Additionally, manufacturer and builder warranties provide coverage for structural defects and faulty workmanship.
The typical duration of a builder’s warranty is six months to two years. With new construction, you will immediately start enjoying your new home without having to invest time, effort, and money into home repairs or updates.
In general, older homes are less energy-efficient than modern-day homes. According to the Department of Energy, a new home that’s been built to the latest energy codes can be 40% more energy-efficient than homes built just 10 years ago.
Older houses were built for a different era, so while they may have been cutting edge at the time, they don’t necessarily offer the most modern amenities. They have less efficient appliances and energy systems that require increased maintenance and more energy, costing you money every month.
For new homes built in compliance with today’s energy efficiency standards, you can depend on a substantial reduction in your monthly energy bills over the lifetime of the home.
Buying a new construction home includes energy-efficient technologies such as:
- Wifi controlled thermostats
- Automatic irrigation systems
- Wifi controlled lighting
- Airtight building envelope
- Insulated to today’s standards
- Energy start windows & doors
Aside from lowering your energy bill, homes built to green building standards have a decreased risk of environmental harm.
The majority of new homes incorporate “smart” technologies. An integrated smart home has all of the technology pre-wired into its structure. Buying a new construction home gives you the option of installing advanced wiring for modern home technology and control systems for:
- Kitchen Appliances
- Smart TVs
- Locks and garage-doors
Older homes lack these smart technology features. It becomes difficult to add additional high-tech gadgets, technologies, and new systems in your house in the future if this phase is skipped. Adding new features to your new construction house after the wiring has been installed is simple.
Modern Floor Plans
Newly built homes are often constructed with a contemporary design that combines numerous functions into one large space, providing plenty of breathing room and natural light, giving the house more space and a sense of luxury.
The Cons of New Home Construction
Advantages and disadvantages come with every decision we make; buying a new construction home is no different. Although there are plenty of pros that come with new home construction, there are a few downsides you should keep in mind as well.
The most significant disadvantage of new home construction is that they come at a higher premium than older homes. According to CNBC, the world leader in business news and real-time financial market coverage, new houses are still more expensive than existing homes, despite what the data states. Building a new home is typically 20% more expensive than purchasing an existing home.
The lack of laborers and materials, as well as the surge in new home construction in 2022, have contributed to quickly rising costs of new building construction. With the continuing high demand for new homes, both list prices and price per square foot are increasing.
On the flip side, if you buy into a new home community during the first phase, chances are you will have equity in your home by the time it is completed.
Less Negotiating Power
If you’re thinking of purchasing new home construction, it’s important to be aware that you will likely not be able to negotiate the sale price. This is because builders typically sell homes themselves and have a specific price in mind that they are not willing to budge on. So, if you’re set on getting a new construction home, be prepared to pay the asking price.
When you buy a new construction home, you will have options for customization and personalization. That does not, however, imply that you are free to design and build the complete plan from scratch.
Semi-custom homes are a great option for those who want to personalize their home but don’t want the overwhelming task of making hundreds of design choices. These houses usually include a list of design options from which you can choose. You will not be allowed to deviate from these options, therefore you do not have complete control over the layout and design.
If you want to make all your own selections, from tile and paint colors to lighting and appliances, you will want to choose a custom home builder. This will allow you the opportunity to design the home from the ground up. You chose everything from the lot size to the floor plan and the exterior and interior finishes.
Smaller Lots and Spaces
To maximize profits, most developers cram as many properties as possible onto smaller lots than existing, older homes. As a result, a new-build home may be less spacious than an existing home. For those who have wished for a home with a large backyard and enough space between themselves and their neighbors, a smaller lot can be a disadvantage.
However, if you prefer a new house on a smaller site, this disadvantage may not affect you. You’ll have less lawn to cut and fewer acres to maintain. It can also save you money on utility bills and time spent maintaining your yard.
In order to keep profits high, some builders use cheaper materials in their construction. While this doesn’t mean that your home won’t be of excellent quality, you may not be getting the value you expected.
You should inquire as to what kind of materials will be used and do some research on the quality of those materials before buying a new construction home.
No Guaranteed Move-In Date
Although you will be given an estimate of when you will be ready to move in, there is no assurance that you will be able to close within the scheduled time frame. Because it is a new construction home, a variety of issues might cause it to take longer than expected. These factors include:
- Construction delays
- Severe weather
- Material shortages
- Other factors that slow down production
When purchasing a pre-existing home, you may be able to buy it for a specific price with no further expenses. When buying a new construction home, there are frequently additional costs in addition to the purchase price.
It’s difficult to estimate the exact expense of a new house prior to completion, especially if you’ve requested design modifications. This makes budgeting difficult. When considering building a new home, choose a home builder that will provide you with a scope of work and allowances for each line item. Unless you choose selections that exceed the allowance, your home should stay on budget.
Also, be cognizant of what features are not included in the purchase price. You may have additional future costs if you want to add features such as a fence, pool, or landscaping. These items are usually included in pre-existing homes but not all new construction projects.
Lastly, some home builders add additional fees that appear on the settlement statement, such as a builder’s fee or water hook-up fee. This could be several thousand dollars. So before you sign anything, make sure to ask about every potential extra cost included in the deal.
Many new neighborhoods take out municipal loans to install the roads and infrastructure needed to maintain the new neighborhood. These loans are divided among the homeowner and added to the yearly property taxes.
In our local area of Sarasota and Manatee County, these are referred to as a CDD Fee (Community Development District) or a Stewardship Fee. This is one of the main reasons why new construction homes have higher property taxes than older ones.
Questions to Ask Your Builder
Before deciding to buy a newly built home, consider all of the pros and cons of new home construction. Once you have done your research, make sure to ask your builder any questions you may still have. To help get you started, here are some key questions to keep in mind:
- How long have you been in business? Make sure that the builder you choose has plenty of experience and knowledge of constructing homes.
- Can you provide three references? It is important to get feedback from previous clients who have used the builder’s services. A trusted real estate agent can help in this area as well.
- What materials are you using? Ensure that the builders are sourcing quality materials and that they will last over time.
- What is included in the price? Ask for a detailed breakdown of all costs associated with building your new home, which outlines the total cost of building your home, as well as any additional fees that may be charged by the builder at settlement.
- What warranties are offered with the home? Understand exactly what warranties are included, such as structural and appliance warranties. This will cover you should anything go wrong with the home down the line.
- When will my project be completed? Understand what timeline you can expect your construction to follow, and whether or not there are any contingencies along the way.
The Pros and Cons of New Home Construction – Bottom Line
As you can see, there are both pros and cons of new home construction. Your budget, timetable, and personal preferences will all influence whether or not this is the best option for you. Weighing your options and understanding all that is involved in the process is key to making the best decision for you and your family.
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not new home construction is right for you, contact a real estate agent. They can help you better understand the process and what to expect. When you find a trustworthy real estate company that can help you locate a new home, and a well-established and reliable home builder who uses high-quality materials and treats every project as special, the advantages of owning a newly constructed home can easily outweigh any disadvantages.