Is a newly built home right for you?
Do you want a home that you’ve helped design and that offers your family the latest in energy efficiency and design options?
Or, is a previously owned home that may need fix-ups, paint jobs, or require walls to be moved around to create the types of open spaces that make sense with people’s lives today for you?
These are simple, straightforward questions that confront many home shoppers early in the process. Your own answers are likely to depend on your lifestyle preferences, financing needs and the priorities you put on features like high energy efficiency, functional arrangements of interior living spaces and your desired personal experience and feel you want of these spaces. Plus, you will need to understand your budget constraints and aptitude to complete repairs and capital improvements on your own or it may require to pay skilled trades people.
There are a few reasons you might prefer a existing house, even if it needs work. For instance, you may have your heart set on moving to a specific neighborhood in the city or a surrounding location, where newly constructed houses are less common or not available unless you buy an existing home, tear it down, and build a new home on the lot. Or you may be a do-it-yourself aficionado and relish the opportunity to take an old house and transform it, even if that takes considerable time and money.
So, it’s understandable that some buyers prefer an existing house in an older neighborhood. But have you seriously considered the potential advantages of buying new?
Here’s a quick list we will cover highlighting some of the many important benefits of building a new home over buying a pre-existing property:
• Home Warranty
• Energy Efficiency
• Green Building
• Flexibility with Space and Electrical
• Everything is New
• Built for You
• Safety Features
• Financing Partners
• Resale Value
Home Warranty for a New Home
“One of the best things about building a new home is the peace of mind that comes with the 1-, 2-, and 10-year warranty which Minnesota statute requires,” says Steve Noble, owner of Noble Custom Homes. First, during the one-year period from and after the warranty date the dwelling shall be free from defects caused by faulty workmanship and defective materials due to noncompliance with building standards. Next, during the two-year period from and after the warranty date, the dwelling shall be free from defects caused by faulty installation of plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems due to noncompliance with building standards. And, lastly, during the ten-year period from and after the warranty date, the dwelling shall be free from major construction defects due to noncompliance with building standards.
This is truly a tremendous safeguard for new home buyers that are working with a licensed Minnesota home builder. “At Noble Custom Homes, we take great pride in our quality workmanship and want to stand behind the homes we build for our customers,” stated Steve.
Energy Consumption/Green Building
If you care about “green” — whether that means the money you spend on energy bills every month or your concern about the environment — a newly constructed home is virtually always the better option. Homes built today must meet far tougher national code standards for energy efficiency than just a few years back. Most newly built homes, in fact, come with energy certifications covering walls, roofs, windows, doors and even appliance packages.
Virtually, very few existing houses offer energy efficiency certifications because they were built to much lower standards — often decades ago, when energy usage was overlooked.
You can retrofit many elements of an existing house to improve its energy efficiency, but it’s costly. Even then, because of design shortcomings, you may not be able to achieve the level of efficiency that is now routine with a newly constructed home. In addition, new homes typically offer better air filtration which increases indoor air quality, reducing symptoms from those who have asthma or allergies.
Flexibility for Space and Wiring Customization
When you buy a existing house, you get what’s already there. That may include room layouts, ceiling heights and lighting that may have made sense in the 1950s or earlier — formal dining rooms, small kitchens, fewer bathrooms and windows, and the like. With a new home, by comparison, you can often participate in the design of interior spaces with the builder, in advance of actual construction. Plus, many new homes come with the sophisticated wiring that’s needed for high-speed electronics and communication equipment, entertainment centers and security systems. With an older home, you may have to spend substantial sums of money to take down walls where that’s possible — some are so-called load-bearing walls that are not easily moved — to enlarge rooms in order to create the flowing, more open living space that is preferred today.
By definition, a new house insinuates that everything is “new”, including costly components — such as the furnace, water heater, air conditioning unit, kitchen appliances and roof, doors, windows and more. In a new home, most of these components come with a warranty, sometimes for up to 10 years. With a existing house, the equipment and structural features you buy have been in use for a while and may be close to needing replacement. There may or may not be warranties, but if there are, they probably have significant limitations already.
Consider some of these typical capital improvements that may be part of the true cost to you over the early years of the purchase of an existing house:
• Heating and Air Conditioning: The typical furnace has a 20-year life expectancy; the typical central air system 15 years. Replacing them could cost you $4,100 for an air conditioning unit and $3,675 and up for the furnace, depending on the system you choose.
• Flooring/Carpeting/Tile/Hardwood Floor refinish: You’re virtually guaranteed to replace some flooring in an existing home, and you may need to upgrade other flooring or finishes as well. Costs can run anywhere from a few thousand dollars to well over $15,000, depending on your choices and the installer completing the floor coverings for you.
• Roof: The average shingled roof lasts about 25 years. Replacement costs can be anywhere from $10,000 and up using a roofing contractor.
• Exterior Painting: With a new house, you get to select the color. With an existing house, there’s a good possibility you’ll want to repaint the house if not, maintenance free. Typical cost: $5,000 and up.
• Interior Painting: Again, with a new house, you choose the wall colors of the rooms as part of the package. With an existing house, there’s a good possibility you’ll want to repaint many of the main rooms where you entertain and spend the majority of your time in the house. It will cost you both money and time if you do the painting yourself.
• Kitchen Remodel: Starts anywhere from $25,000 up to $50,000.
• Master Bath Remodel: $15,000 and up.
Bottom Line Here
Although you — and your budgetary resources — control what you improve and when, it’s highly likely that you’re going to spend money on at least several of these capital improvements in the early years following your purchase of an existing house. It is very common, that buying an existing home will lead to unrecognized future capital costs because you can’t determine what systems or appliances will breakdown or when they will breakdown.
Safety Features (Especially from Fires)
Newly built homes come with modern fire retardants in materials such as carpeting and insulation, unlike most existing houses. Builders also hard-wire smoke and carbon monoxide detectors into their homes, making it unnecessary for new owners to install less-dependable battery-powered detectors. Many builders also back up their hard-wired detectors with battery power to handle electrical outages.
Builders often have mortgage subsidiaries or affiliates and can custom-tailor financing –down payments, “points,” other loan fees and even interest rates — to your specific situation and needs. Many are also willing to work with you to help defray closing costs at settlement. Sellers of resale homes may be willing to offer contributions to settlement charges, but you can be certain they don’t own a mortgage company and, thus, don’t have the leeway to come up with the loan you need. When you finance an existing home purchase, you are basically on your own.
You may plan to live in your next home for many years, but at some point, most people sell a given home for any of a myriad of reasons — moving to a bigger home to accommodate a growing family, buy down to smaller quarters or association living where lawncare and exterior maintenance is taken care for you after the children are gone. Possibly, looking to move for a lifestyle change to play golf, experience lake living, move across the country for weather reasons or another job, etc. While the home you sell will (by definition) no longer be new, a five-year-old home will often be more desirable — given all the features above — than a 25-year-old home. A decision to buy a newly built home or existing house is ultimately best made by each home buyer. Now you know the questions to ask, and the relative costs involved, in order to make the best decision for yourself.
At Noble Custom Homes, we take great pride in our work and we’re driven to allow significant consideration in our customers wants and needs to help design and build a home that they can proudly call their dream home. With over 20 plus years of experience and our continued commitment to be the best home builder we can be for the greater St. Cloud area and Central Minnesota region.
Learn more about Noble Custom Homes by visiting them on the web at https://www.noblecustomhomes.com/