The Pros and Cons of Buying Newly Built Homes

From time to time, my wife and I will check out new homes in the area or even in the adjacent communities. We do this to see the various designs and how furniture is set-up in the house.

Talk about nothing to do with our lives but, hey, we are planning on buying and moving to a house in the near future so going on a new home’s tour really gives us an idea on some of the minor things that we have to do.

She kind of like the idea of buying a brand new home but I told her that there are pros and cons on it and this is because my parents and I bought a brand new home more than a decade ago. It is best to weigh if we the pros outweigh the cons.

 

The Pros

Modern Design & Lay-outs

During our home tour, one thing that we noticed is that most houses have cathedral ceilings, bigger kitchen, family rooms, walk-in closets, bigger bath tubs, more storage rooms, etc. You can’t say that with older homes. Older homes tend to have smaller areas and out-to-date architectural designs and lay-outs.

Option to Customize

One of the perks of buying newly built homes is the option to customize. When we (my parents and I) bought our home more than a decade ago, the builder provided us options on what flooring to put, color of the paint, sliding door in the bathroom, etc. These are just minor customization but we like the idea of being able to select what we want on the house, although upgrades did cost us more. Moreover, if you are building a house from scratch, then you can have more inputs on what you want on a house. Please keep in mind that building a house from scratch on your own would be much more expensive than if you are going to buy a house from a builder.

Warranty

What I really like about buying the brand new home is that the builder offers a 10-year warranty for any defects on the house. When there are breakdowns out of the regular maintenance or defects on the make and materials, we would just call the warranty company and they would come out and fix the problem. One of the main issues in the house is water leaks and had it not for the warranty; we would have paid major bucks for the repair. Having the warranty really gave us a peace of mind.

Up-to-date Building Codes

Newly built homes need to follow the current building or safety codes of the city or state that you live in. This is required by law and it affects codes such as having sprinklers and smoke detectors, proper electrical and up-to-date plumbing systems.

Modern Energy-Saving features

Newer homes may have better energy-saving features such as better window or door heating/cooling insulation, noise-proof rooms, and some are equipped with solar powered energy features. This was really interesting when we went to Lake Elsinore to check out some new homes. The solar energy feature of  one of the new home that we saw not only helps you save money by acquiring free energy, but it also helps you make money by selling  any of the excess to the energy companies!!

The Cons

Lesser Quality Materials used

One thing that I noticed with the newer homes is that the materials used are not of the same quality as the ones used with older homes. The types of materials used on the walls, roof, or flooring seem to break quicker compared to the materials used in the old homes and this is coming from someone who used to live in a home built in the 70’s.

May Require Long Commute to Work

New homes are mostly located in the suburb communities far from the metropolitan area, which means a long commute to work. If you live in a congested metropolitan area like Los Angeles, a 35-mile distance from work means a 2-hour commute during the rush hour.

May Include Monthly HOA Fees

Most new homes are built in communities and with home owner’s association. Because of this, you may be paying for home owner’s association fees. You see, the $100 per month HOA fees on a 5% fixed with 30 years, is equivalent to an additional $20,000 on your home purchase. If you buy a house for $200,000, paying an additional $100 per month for HOA fees is like purchasing the house for $220,000. And that’s not all, that $100 per month will not stay at that amount, it increases as the community gets older because of the increase in maintenance cost. In the house that we bought more than a decade ago, the homeowner’s association fees doubled already. The hardest part is we hardly used all the amenities available that time so to me, this is just a waste of money.

So what would you prefer, new or previously owned homes?

Comments

  1. Chris says:

    One of the biggest reasons I decided to buy new was no maintenance (at least for a little while). I don’t have to come home worrying about whether or not the hot water heater has gone out.