Picture this: you’re ready to buy a new house so you browse listings, pick a few that you want to see, and the next thing you know you’re moving into your dream home. Sounds great, right? But it’s not always that easy!
The reality is that most homebuyers spend hours searching listings for resale homes and view dozens of houses that don’t quite match their requirements. They eventually have to give up some of their initial ideas and settle for a home that they can live with, or that can be remodeled to more closely resemble what they’re looking for.
Whether you’re just starting out in the homebuying process or you’ve been searching listings but haven’t found the right house yet, it may be worth considering a newly built home. Granted, the process of buying a new construction may seem more complicated than buying a resale, but the potential rewards are great. It is also, dare we say, more exciting!
Let’s take a detailed look at the process of buying a new construction home to help you decide if it’s a good option for you.
Types of Newly Constructed Homes
Buying a newly constructed home can be as simple as buying a house that’s move-in ready or as complex as purchasing a plot of land and working with an architect and builder to design and build the perfect new house for you.
The process of buying a new construction begins with understanding your options. Generally, newly constructed homes are of three types:
If you want full control over the location, construction, and design of your new home, your best option is one that’s custom built to match your personal needs and preferences. The process usually begins with the purchase of an empty lot, although some people decide to tear down their existing house and build a new one on their plot of land. The next steps involve getting approval to build from local authorities and selecting the architect, builder, and contractors you wish to work with. Once these steps are complete, you’re ready to begin consulting with the team you’ve selected to plan and execute the exterior and interior building of your new home. Going the custom-build route takes extra time and possibly extra money, but the end result is that every detail of your new house, from exterior to interior, will be exactly the way you want it.
Sometimes referred to as a “cookie-cutter house,” a semi-custom home is typically purchased as part of a new development or community. Although buying a semi-custom home does not give you the freedom to choose all the details of your new home’s location, construction, and design, it does give you more control than an existing home purchase would. Most semi-custom homes have limited options for layout and style, but smaller details such as floors, countertops, and cabinetry can be customized to suit your preferences.
Spec or Production
Often referred to as “move-in ready” or “sold as-is,” a spec or production home gives you the fewest options for customization. These types of houses are a good choice if you want a brand new home but don’t have the interest or time to get involved in selecting all the details. At most, spec or production homes may offer limited customization options for the finish of the home, such as paint color, countertop materials, and types of appliances. Foregoing customization options by buying a spec or production home can save you money since developers often sell these homes at a lower price.
The Pros and Cons of Buying a Newly Constructed Home
Before you consider buying new construction, it’s important to understand the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right choice for you.
- Buying a newly constructed home turns your dream home into a reality. When you buy a pre-existing home, you would have to have incredibly good luck to find a house that exactly matches your vision of your dream home. It’s more likely that you’ll find a home that’s less than perfect but has certain important features that meet your needs or can be remodeled to suit your preferences. A newly constructed home, on the other hand, can be built and customized to precisely fit your needs and preferences, particularly if you choose a custom build.
- Once built, a new home is move-in ready. You’re already making a huge financial commitment when you buy a new home. Adding on the cost of remodeling or redecorating, like you might have to with an existing home purchase, can be both expensive and overwhelming. When you buy a newly constructed home, you can rest assured that your plumbing and electrical systems are working and up-to-date, brand new appliances have been installed, the paintwork is pristine, and everything is clean and tidy so that you can move right on in with just your suitcases.
- Maintenance costs are lower on new homes. There are several reasons why new homes have lower maintenance costs than older homes. First of all, new homes are just that–new. Wear and tear is a gradual process that has not had time to take place in a newly constructed home. This means you won’t have to worry about replacing the roof within a few years or fixing loose tiles in the bathroom. You will also have the protection of a warranty with a new home that should cover any unexpected problems that do arise. New homes are also cheaper to insure and are built to meet higher energy efficiency standards than older homes, resulting in lower utility bills in the long run.
- There is little room for price negotiation with a new home. Negotiation is an expected part of the process when you buy an existing home, and the final sales price is often significantly different from the original listed price. With semi-custom and spec homes, however, the listed price is typically what you will pay. Builders/developers don’t like to reduce the base prices on new homes, as this lowers their profit margins and prompts more buyers to negotiate pricing.
Keep in mind, however, that eliminating negotiation from the homebuying process gives you more certainty about pricing. During times of high competition in the resale market, when homes are selling for well above asking price, buyers have little to no price certainty. If you choose to buy a new home instead, you won’t have to worry about the possibility of getting into bidding wars with other buyers or not getting the house you want because your offer wasn’t high enough.
- You could blow your budget. This issue is mostly relevant to custom-built homes. Building a custom house is not a quick and easy process and you may come up against all sorts of obstacles. Delays caused by the weather, zoning issues, and inspections can significantly add to costs. There also exists the possibility of price increases in raw materials, labor, and other products. If a custom home is what you really want, don’t let these price risks stop you. Just be sure to account for possible obstacles and price increases by building a contingency amount into your budget.
Start Exploring New Homes Today
Now that you understand the types of newly constructed homes available and the pros and cons involved in buying one, you have the information you need to decide whether a new construction home is a right choice for you. Choosing to buy a new construction home is one of the most important decisions you will make, and your final decision depends on your personal needs and preferences.
When you’re ready, NewHomesMate is here to make the process of buying a new construction home easy for you. On our platform, you can search for and tour thousands of new construction homes and communities in your area. Our new home experts are ready to guide you through the entire home buying process and will help you turn your dream home into a reality. Start searching with us today!