The market today is full of opportunities to buy a new or older home. This truly is a buyer’s market and you may think it’s time to start shopping. What are the important factors to consider when making a long term investment decision? Do you head straight for the national builder flags and balloons, or cruise the established neighborhoods? Let’s review some of the considerations that may help in the decision making process.
Do you want current building features? Features like solar panel arrays or Photo-Voltaic (PV) systems, pre-wiring for internet and security systems, low-e dual pain windows, motion sensors, irrigation and drainage systems, better insulation, and energy efficient AC systems are common advantages to newer homes. Solar arrays can provide your home with an alternate electricity source saving money while helping the environment. The many other benefits to enhanced code requirements new homes are built under also decrease heating and cooling costs dramatically. The additional features in a new home can make life simple, especially if you and your family are very busy.
Newer communities though may have less services and shopping in the immediate area. Schools may not be nearby making commuting difficult. New neighborhoods sometimes have troubles with streets and roads that may not be fully built adding to traffic congestion. Parks or roads might not be completed until more of the neighborhood is complete. Unsold new homes might remain vacant or empty lots may surround your new home until they sell.
Do you want a charming home and neighborhood? Older homes were built with different objectives in mind. If you check out the older homes in your local communities, the architecture is different than in newer homes. Value engineering, designed to reduce construction costs can at times affect the appearance of a newer home. Older neighborhoods many times have a more custom appearance. Old homes also have more mature landscapes and trees which provide shade which are much more appealing than the starter trees of new homes.
Established neighborhoods also tend to have plenty of shopping in the area. Schools are usually close along with local parks being fully completed. Road work is usually limited to repairs or enhancements. Phone, internet, and satellite services are usually readily available as well.
Restoring older homes can provide increased financial opportunities, buying at a lower price improving the value of the home. Although fewer features exist in older homes, they have a unique curb appeal that just isn’t frequently seen in newer homes. Make sure also that the real estate agent discloses and pertinent information about the older home.
Financial considerations can help the decision making process. If your family is on the go, a new home might be the better choice. The cost and time required to upgrade an existing structure can be very demanding. Many times older homes can have hidden damage that must be corrected while other projects are underway. For example, if new bath fixtures are being installed, such as a toilet, rotten subfloors must be changed as well. Any mold growing behind older shower enclosures must be abated.
Inefficient systems and the cost of energy, is another factor that might sway your decision to a newer home purchase. Many cities and governments are offering incentives to installing solar panels so this could be an added financial benefit if an older home doesn’t have a solar system installed. Real estate broker fees and the costs related to the loan is another factor to consider.
Home buyers will want to get pre-approval prior to shopping. Average new home prices are typically higher than older homes. Know exactly what you can afford before ever talking with anyone as approval for loans is tough in the current market. A financial benefit to an older home is that some cities offer incentives to purchasing existing homes within their limits to help reduce the number of vacant or foreclosed homes.
Once you have narrowed your home selection down to a few, visit the neighborhoods in the evening. Ultimately, the key is to know what is important for you and your family. Weigh out the total costs and benefits of each option and know exactly what you are getting into before buying.