Are you sitting in a 1974 home wishing for a 2018 great room and kitchen? Perhaps you’re starting to look for a home and you’re wondering if you’d do better with a proven 1950s rancher or a newly constructed Mediterranean-style cottage. Do you like the look of vintage but crave the convenience of new? What to do? There’s a lot of pros and cons of new construction to consider when you’re deciding if it is right for you.
Who’s Your Builder? If you’re going to buy new, choosing your builder is the most important step in the process. You need to do your homework on builders in your area. How long have they been building homes? Can you tour houses they’ve built in the past? What do owners say about their experience? Are there any complaints on file with local or state authorities? Once you’ve settled on a builder and the house is in progress, don’t be a stranger. Visit the site weekly to see what’s going on – and take photos for future reference.
Limited Choices. Unless you are going completely custom, there will be a limited range of choices you can make on your new home. Builders will have certain packages available, from flooring/wall colors to kitchen appliances or bathroom fixtures. The plus is that a designer has (probably) worked to make the choices harmonious. The minus is that if you want to mix things up, you may not be able to get what you want as part of the construction package, which means more expense and remodeling later. If the builder is willing to make changes, be sure you are comfortable with any extra expense.
That New Home Feeling. For some people, there’s no substitute for knowing that they are the first people to live in a home. It’s clean, it’s new, and it’s all yours. You won’t have to wonder if someone spilled weed killer in the garage, or question that odd stain in the hall closet. Although you should be sure to have a home inspection, it’s unlikely to uncover a defective furnace or persistent leaks. In addition, new homes are more likely to have an open plan layout, and they may be tech-ready, with smart home systems in place so you can control many home functions from your phone.
Efficiency And Safety. A new home will be constructed to meet current building codes. That means it will meet energy and/or water efficiency standards for appliances, plumbing fixtures, insulation and windows. Additionally, the roof will meet fire safety standards, and the home may include landscaping that uses less water or is fire-resistant. (One drawback to new landscaping is that it will take a few years to mature, so you’ll need to be patient.)
They Don’t Build Them Like They Used To. There are features in a vintage home that you are unlikely to find in comparably priced new construction. Older modest homes in the Midwest are likely to have beautiful hardwood floors. A welcoming front porch, perfect for sitting on summer nights, is more common in homes of a certain age. On the other hand, the laundry may be in the basement, and the windows may have screens and storm windows that have to be changed twice a year. If you’re trading convenience for charm, be sure you are sold on the older home.
Why Are We Waiting? Unless you buy a move-in ready spec home, you may have to wait a few weeks or several months for your new home to be completed. Discuss the schedule with the builder, and then plan for extra time. You don’t want to end up living in a motel room with three kids, 2 dogs, a cat and a goldfish.
One More Choice. If you love your current home but need some changes, or you’ve found an older home that could be “the one” if only the bathroom tile wasn’t turquoise, consider renovation. At First Choice Loan Services Inc., we offer loans for renovations, including one-time-close purchase + renovation loans, so you can buy and remodel with one loan. We offer purchase, refinance and construction loans, too. Whether you are purchasing an older home or buying new, talk to a First Choice Loan Services Mortgage Loan Originator about your financing options.