When I was a little kid, I remember cashing in my allowance on new music albums and cassette tapes. I recall the excitement of tearing off the cellophane wrapper and anxiously studying the song lyrics and the artwork on the inside sleeve. Today’s generation of digital downloads will never share that experience. Similarly, think of when you drive your brand new car off the lot for the first time. The dashboard is shiny and clean and the aroma of that ‘new car smell’ fills the cabin. The same is true for new construction homes. There is a certain value in knowing you are the first to occupy the house. All of the appliances both small (range, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave) and large (HVAC, water heater, etc) are years from signs of significant aging. You’re not ‘inheriting’ the deferred maintenance and neglect previous owners may have left. Although buying new may seem like the optimal option, it’s important to weigh all options before making that decision.
One of the greatest advantages to new construction is the ability to personalize and customize your new home. You have a blank canvas from which to work. There’s no need to replace the red, shag carpet or the brass light fixtures. No need to GOOGLE /YOUTUBE how to update the wood paneling in the den. You can make it your own without the hassle of replacing the previous owner’s taste. In addition to what I previously mentioned about the efficiency of appliances, the same holds true for other areas of the house. The new construction will also be more energy efficient with the installation of brand new windows, fresh caulking, and new insulation. After you unpack, you’ll likely spend your time making these personalized revisions instead of addressing looming maintenance that has been neglected over a period of time. Finally, many new construction homes offer various types of builders’ warranties. Be sure to consult with the builder with details of those warranties as they may vary.
To be fair, I need to share some drawbacks or negatives with the new construction process as well. The most obvious is the timeline. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Construction, it took an average of 8.8 months to complete a contractor-built home in 2020. Factors of this timeline include: acquisition of building materials, labor, inclement weather, workload and scheduling of builders, etc. In line with other products of inflation, we’ve all heard and seen the increase in the cost of building materials as well. This leads to possibly the largest negative in the building process… cost. If you tour a model home, be sure to ask what features come standard and what are considered upgrades. Keeping a tight budget is crucial in the building process. Even after you sign all of the paperwork and close on the new construction, there will be more expenses personalizing your home. For example, you will need to install window coverings. The average number of windows in a house is 22. WIth the average price of window blinds at $50, that equals $1100 in window coverings that you may/may not have budgeted. Building new construction homes can be very exciting. Just keep in mind all that you’re getting into and budget accordingly.
Until next week, love where you live. And if you don’t…contact your local REALTOR®.
Brian Haufe, 2022 MBOR President