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Why Should I buy a New Home vs a resale home?
By definition, with a new house 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 resale 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.
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. Prices according to Remodeling Calculator.
• Flooring/Carpeting/Tile/Hardwood Floor refinish: You’re virtually guaranteed to replace some carpeting in a resale home and you may need to upgrade other flooring or finishes. Costs can run anywhere from a few thousand dollars to well over $15,000, depending on your choices.
• Roof: The average shingled roof lasts about 25 years. Replacement costs can be anywhere from $5,000 up.
• Exterior Painting. With a new house, you may get to select the color. With an existing house, there’s a good possibility you’ll want to repaint. Typical cost: $5,000 and up.
• Interior Painting: Again, with a new house, you may choose the wall colors of the rooms as part of the package. With an existing house, you’re probably going to want to repaint some of the interior. Even if you do it yourself, it will cost money and time.
• Kitchen Remodel: Think anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000.
• 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 purchase of a resale house. They are the unadvertised costs of not buying new.
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 are able to custom-tailor financing — down payments, “points,” other loan fees and even interest rates — to your specific situation. 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, have the leeway to come up with the loan you need. When you finance a resale purchase, you are basically on your own.
You may plan to live in your next home 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, moving down to smaller digs when children are gone, moving across town or across the country for 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 at resale.
In addition to his articles for NewHomeSource, Ken Harney writes an award-winning, nationally syndicated column on real estate for The Washington Post Writers Group that appears in 90 newspapers.
About the Builder - Westharbor Homes
Westharbor Homes is building two new neighborhoods designed to accommodate aging in place, in Port Ludlow, Washington.
Ludlow Cove Cottages is a new neighborhood of 42 cottage style homes that can be situated on either a woodland, park-front or waterfront home site. All home plans in the neighborhood offer open concept floor plans, charming front porches, and master suites on the main level.
Olympic Terrace II offers 41 large, low-maintenance home sites. These homes range from 1500 - 2500 square feet and offer a mixture of high quality, modern fixtures and finishes as well as thoughtful design. This beautiful neighborhood offers picturesque landscape and mountain views, as well as enchanting sights and sounds of nature.
Situated at the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, Port Ludlow is full of opportunity for adventure and tranquility. Just outside your door, you can spend your day hiking on miles of maintained trails, fishing, golfing, or exploring the wonders of the Olympic Peninsula.
Westharbor Homes specializes in new neighborhood construction and is committed to exceptional craftsmanship and customer service.