Should You Buy an Existing or a New Construction Home in Wakefield, MA
After years of planning, saving, and considering, it’s finally time to buy your first home. Now, however, you find yourself at a crossroads: should you buy an existing or new construction home? To help you answer this pivotal question, we’ve prepared this in-depth guide.
Pros and cons of building a new home
Many people want to be the first-ever owners of their first-ever home. If so, having a house built from the ground up might be right for you. Here are the pros and cons of this option:
Lower maintenance costs — Even the best-maintained homes will have some wear and tear, but this won’t be a problem if you go with a new construction home. From the roof down to the floor, every component of your house will be brand new, meaning repairs won’t be a concern in the immediate future. And if maintenance is required, it will be minimal.
Builder’s warranties — Should something break, however, it will still likely be covered by a warranty. As such, you won’t have to shell out a hefty amount just to have your heater or roof fixed.
Personalize the home before it’s built — If you have very specific ideas about what your dream home should be like, it may be hard to find an existing property that ticks all your boxes. More likely than not, you’ll compromise and select a house that has most but not all your must-haves. With a new construction home, however, you can design it exactly how you wish — including that home gym or office you’ve always wanted.
Updated features and amenities — Newer building materials tend to be more energy and resource-efficient. For instance, modern windows have a low emissivity coating which prevents heat from escaping your home. Low-flow faucets, meanwhile, can minimize the amount of water you use by 60%. Together, these features can lower your utility bills markedly.
Potentially higher costs — Building a home comes with a lot of miscellaneous costs such as permits and inspections. Moreover, the more customized your home design is, the more expensive it will likely be to build. And logistical challenges brought about by the pandemic have also sent the price of construction materials soaring by 20% in 2021 alone.
Takes a longer time before you can move in —Buyers who are eager to move in and settle down as soon as possible might want to rethink building a house. After all, the entire process can take around seven months to complete on average. In contrast, homes in Wakefield stay on the market for only 101 days. If time is not of the essence, however, then a new construction home is an excellent choice.
Getting a mortgage can be more difficult — Applying for a mortgage if you’re buying an existing property is pretty straightforward. Financing a new construction home? Not so much. After all, banks are wary of lending money for something that does not yet exist. However, you can take out a construction loan, where money is advanced in tranches as the building progresses.
You may have to follow premade layouts — Some subdivisions have predetermined floor plans that help maintain the visual coherence of a community. Even if you are building your house from the ground up, it may have to conform to design so it’s not truly custom-built. Be sure to inquire if the homeowner’s association has any such requirements before construction begins.
Pros and cons of buying an existing home
While housing inventory can be pretty tight these days, a trusted agent can still help you find a home that suits your needs and lifestyle. Here are the reasons why this option might — and might not — work for you.
Generally priced lower than new construction homes — For the same reason that ready-to-wear clothing is more affordable than custom-tailored apparel, an existing home is often more budget-friendly./u> Also, it’s easier to negotiate the price of an existing property than one that’s yet to be built. Furthermore, new constructions have a habit of going over budget so may end up paying more than you bargained for.
Mature landscaping — There’s nothing more attractive than a verdant front lawn with thriving trees. Of course, these didn’t grow overnight — they are the product of years and years of careful maintenance. If you want mature landscaping that’s picture-perfect, an existing home is better able to provide it.
You may be able to move in more quickly — As part of the closing process, you and the seller will decide when your move-in date will be. In fact, once the sales deed is signed, they’ll hand you the keys to the home. Of course, a home builder will also give you a target move-in date, but material and labor shortages might push it back.
Better locations and established neighborhoods — Land is an increasingly finite resource and if people are going to build a house anywhere, they’ll build it in the most ideal location possible. This is the reason why the best homes tend to be in sought-after neighborhoods that are already well-established. New constructions, meanwhile, are usually located in promising communities that are still a few years away from reaching their peak.
The floor plan and other features may be outdated — Houses are a product of their time. As such, older homes may have layouts and features straight out of the 80s or earlier that might not match your family’s lifestyle. If you’re house-hunting in an established neighborhood, for instance, you may struggle to find a property with an open layout plan, which only became popular in the 1990s.
Might need major structural repairs — No matter how well-maintained a home is, its parts will eventually need repairs or replacement. For instance, roofs are rated to last for 20-25 years, while flooring materials range anywhere from 10-25 years. For both safety and aesthetic reasons, you may have to replace these features which can prove costly.
Less efficient appliances and fixtures — With today’s rising cost of living, even utility bills are getting more expensive. If the home you’re getting has dated appliances and mechanicals, your expenses might get even higher. A new home, on the other hand, will likely have more modern — and, thus, more energy-efficient — equipment from the get-go.
Is it better to buy a new construction home or an existing house?
Of course, which home you buy depends entirely on your circumstances. The pros and cons given above should give you a better idea of which route best suits your needs and finances.
If budget and time are not an issue, new build homes for sale are ideal. On the other hand, if convenience and potential cost savings are important to you, then an existing house may be more suitable.
That said, it’s best to consult with a trusted real estate agent who has deep knowledge of both the new construction and existing Wakefield, MA.
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