If you’re looking to buy a home, you have several options to choose from. You could buy an existing property that’s already been lived in, or you could opt for a new-construction home instead.
New-construction homes, as the name implies, are brand new and have never been previously owned. Some new-construction homes come fully built -- meaning, when you buy the home, it will already have its flooring, kitchen, bathrooms, and layout completed. In other situations, a new-construction home might come partially built -- the frame of the home will exist, but you’ll have a say in its layout, and you’ll get to decide specifically what you want each room to look like. If you’re thinking of buying new construction, here are a few advantages of going this route.
1. The ability to customize your home
Buying new construction often means getting to move into your dream home. When you buy a pre-owned home, you may not like certain features of it, like its dated kitchen countertops or the fact that there’s thick, dark carpet running throughout. A new home often lets you customize the bulk of the details to suit your tastes. Want a kitchen with white cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances? You can have it. Like neutral tones for your walls and flooring? Done.
Some new-construction homes even let you dictate their layout so that, for example, you can choose to put in an extra bedroom versus a bathroom versus a sunroom. That way, you get the home you really want without having to sink money into renovations after the fact.
2. Lower maintenance costs
Buying new construction often means paying less money in home maintenance for a number of years after moving into that property. The reason? When you have a brand-new air conditioning system, heating system, and appliances, these items are less likely to break down for a while. Similarly, new-construction homes tend to come with more efficient appliances (and if they don’t, there’s generally the option to upgrade them during the construction process), which can lower your utility bills on a long-term basis.
3. A home warranty
It’s common practice for new-construction homes to come with a warranty protecting you, the buyer, from issues that arise with the property shortly after the fact. You’ll almost always be granted a one-year warranty when you buy new, and sometimes you’ll be covered for longer. This means that if your water heater starts leaking six months in, the cost to fix it won’t be on you.
On the other hand, when you buy a pre-owned home, you’re generally stuck fronting the cost for repairs that can hit you right away. And while a thorough home inspection can help you avoid or prepare for that scenario, issues can get missed or overlooked, leaving you on the hook for whatever bills ensue.
Clearly, there’s plenty to be gained from buying new construction but beware of the costs involved. New-construction homes are often more expensive than older ones, and as such, you’ll need to qualify for a higher mortgage and come up with a larger down payment. Also, your property taxes may be more substantial with new construction than what you’d pay for an older home in the same neighborhood.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when you buy new construction, the financial burden is often on you to put in finishing touches like blinds on your windows, towel rods in your bathrooms, and shelving in your closets and pantry (though this isn’t always the case). If you’re going to buy a brand-new home, review your contract thoroughly to understand what items are and are not included. That way, there won’t be any unwanted surprises when you gear up to close on that property.