Pro: Brand new home versus “pre-loved” home

It’s exciting to live in a new home that no one has lived in previously.  Afterall, everything from bottom to top is new and unused.  The paint is perfect, the baseboards clean, no pet hair or scratches that would be found in a pre-existing home.  Having a home built or at least purchasing a new home may be a great option if you are one who needs to start with a clean slate.


Con: All builders are not equal

The experience of building a new home varies among individual buyers because the policies, pricing, location, skills, and options offered vary among builders. Builders have been constructing homes longer than other.  Some have better reputations while some will build custom while others seem to build the same home over and over again.  You need to be educated about who you choose to build with. When choosing a builder for your new construction home, look beyond the pictures on their brochure and seek out more information to ensure you’re making the right choice. Check out homes they’ve completed, talk to homebuyers who have previously built with them, visit their subdivisions and make sure there are no major complaints filed against them. You shouldn’t have trouble finding a great builder for your home; you just have to do the work to make sure whoever you go with will deliver what you’re looking for.


Pro: Exterior and interior customization

You can determine what you want in a new home, and having so much control over the details that go into your home is quite a luxury. Buying new construction means that you get to pick out everything from the color of your siding and trim to the placement of every single light bulb and outlet.  Many of the things that you get to choose when constructing a home could be more costly to put in a remodel.  If you’re someone who loves design or just someone with a lot of preferences about what makes a perfect space, you’ll really enjoy getting to make so many decisions about the different aspects that make your house a home.


Con: Limited options

Not all builders will build custom.  While you may get to customize to a degree with some builders, other builders may provide few choices.. For example, you won’t be able to add a sunroom that isn’t listed as an option on the original plans or choose a different placement for the fireplace. Many builders will only let you choose between one or two paint colors for all of your interior walls, so if you want anything different, that’s a project you’ll have to take on after the home is built or choose a builder who will allow you to chose from a larger assortment.  Maybe you will be less likely to build custom if you will not be in the home for more than a few years.  Many buyers looking for a ‘forever’ home choose to build custom to get exactly what they want.


Pro: Limited options

Having limited options is not so bad though! Unless you’re a home design pro, it’s easy to get paralyzed by the sheer amount of choices you can make when building a home. When building a custom home through a hired contractor instead of a developer, many buyers have to hire architects and designers to help them sift through the wide array of options and make smart decisions. In that way, having, say, six kitchen faucets to choose from instead of six hundred, is less overwhelming.


Con: Upgrades aren’t cheap

The first price you see when choosing a new construction home is the base price of the property. This includes the structure itself and may also include things like the lot the home will sit on and the landscaping that will surround it .. It also includes all the standard finishes, which are often not the best looking or highest quality options. To get your house looking how you want it, you’re going to have to pay more money to get upgrades.  Choosing tile or wood floors instead of carpet, recessed lighting, fireplaces, and upgraded kitchens are all going to add on to the cost of your home in a big way. It costs about 20% more to buy new construction over an existing one, so expect additional costs and be conscious about finding a balance between getting the things that you want and staying within your budget.


Pro: Energy efficiency

Newer homes across the board are taking advantage of innovations in energy efficiency, and if you build new construction, chances are you will get a home that is specifically built to use less energy. There are a lot of variables in a home that can be optimized for energy efficiency, including insulation and air sealing, heating and cooling, and appliances. When you build new construction, you have more say over the strategies used to reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Your builder likely already includes some of those options, like energy efficient windows, which can prevent the 25%-30% heat gain and loss attributed to less efficient windows. Ask about other energy saver options as well, like dual flush toilets, smart thermostats, and LED lighting.  Some builders will offer upgrades in the energy efficiency arena while others will build to code and not much more.


Con: Less room for negotiating

When you’re buying a pre-owned home, the price is set by the market and by the current home owner who may have it over-priced. For that reason, negotiating is just part of the process, and it’s totally rational to expect that you’ll pay less than the price that you see on the listing, unless there are multiple offers on the property which may drive the price up.   In that event, and in the event of buying new construction, the home will have to appraise for at least the sales price.  When you’re buying new construction what you see is typically what you’re going to pay, plus any upgrades. Builders don’t like to lower the base prices on homes because that alters the comps of the development and will result in more buyers looking for ways to negotiate down. They may, however, offer some free upgrades like a fence, refrigerator or window blinds or financial incentives, so look for those instead of expecting to convince a buyer to lower their price.  Also remember that the sales agent sitting in the model home represents the builder, not you as the buyer.  You having an independent realtor helps you with the process while costing you nothing.  The sales price you receive on new construction does not differ whether you have a realtor or not.  Buying a house without a realtor is much like going to court without an attorney.


Pro: Less maintenance costs in the first few years

There are no guarantees that a home will need no repair with-in the first few years, but the chances of having to fix a leaky roof or a broken pipe are significantly lower, meaning less stress and less money spent while everything is still new. In addition, most builders include a range of warranties with their homes, which may include a short term ‘bumper-to-bumper’ type warranty and a longer term builders warranty. It’s a big financial benefit, and a nice relief in the years following such a major purchase.

Remember even a new home is not a perfect home so don’t be surprised if something does not need to be repaired after moving in.  New homes are constructed with a massive number of products, any of which could fail at any time.  Many buyers want to move into a home that is established with manicured lawn, in an established neighborhood.  There is a lot to be said about that.  I have sold new homes in neighborhoods that five years later have changed a lot, too much in some cases.  Existing homes in older neighborhoods give you a great idea how that neighborhood will likely look in ten years.  New construction is not for everyone.  Some may want to build custom and deal with tideous details while others may just want to drop by a neighborhood and buy a newly constructed but finished home.   Whether new or existing construction, bring an agent with you to advocate for your interests.  Home owners pay all realtor fees so why not have an agent to represent you.   The more you know going into the process, the better you’ll be able to navigate the sometimes tricky process of building a new construction home.





Maritime Realty is not affiliated with any builder




Maritime Realty broker, Douglas Lisenbee, was taught as a Realtor that the community comes first. Those are not merely words but also what he lives by. Believing that he could serve the community best as a broker, he started Maritime Realty in April 2017 after a ten year successful career reaching and maintaining sales within the top five percent of agents selling in the area

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