New construction can offer a home-buyer more than fresh paint and an open floor plan. Today’s new homes feature flexible spaces, are constructed using low-maintenance building materials and are significantly more energy efficient than older homes. And financing can be easier because of mortgage-financing perks that may be offered through a builder.
When reviewing the process used to construct a new home, everything starts on the inside – with the building envelope. Builders are concerned with making sure conditioned air — cool air in summer months and warm air in the winter — stays inside and doesn’t escape through walls, the roof or other exits. With that in mind, single-pane windows have been relegated to the past. New homes often come equipped with triple and quadruple-paned windows, designed to minimize air filtration in or out.
Since the early 1980′s, building codes have also mandated higher energy-efficiency standards, and home builders are meeting or exceeding them. The most recent International Energy Conservation Code requires almost 20% more efficiency than 2006 standards.
New homes often include “green” amenities or appliances, such as low or no VOC paint and flooring, energy-efficient lighting, reflective window coatings, and high-efficiency stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, water heaters, furnaces or air conditioning units. A new home may feature green appliances which are designed to consume less energy, resulting in lower utility bills.
Technology in New Homes
Some of the most recent technologies are not as compatible with the building and structure of older homes. Integrated Technology, or sometimes called a connected home, means that the home features a completely integrated home technology solution. Integrated home solutions seamlessly communicate in an intelligent way to simplify life. It encompasses much more than just lighting and shade control. Today’s modern homes combine lighting, climate, shades, home entertainment, security, and more on a single platform.
The 2017 New American Home, which will was the highlight of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) show in Las Vegas, uses the most innovative solutions for energy management, security, lighting control and entertainment.
Technology tools at home are readily available in many price points to accommodate the home owner’s needs. While systems in the past may have been unattainable to the average buyer, the majority of the technology incorporated into new connected homes can scale from a small home to a large estate.
These technologies are often difficult to retrofit in older homes. New homes can be fitted for today’s technologies from the initial design.
Buyers Pay More for Technology
Study after study has shown that today’s buyers are willing to pay more for homes with green technologies. The savings on energy bills are a key factor. Add to that the desire for smart home features and the addition of these elements to a home are a smart choice.
By 2020, nearly all (81%) home builders will be constructing that level of green, with over half (51%) building at least 60% of their new homes green.
One key factor driving the growth of green is the association of green homes with healthier living. Home builders and remodelers certainly recognize the potential: most (83%) believe that consumers will pay more for homes that are healthier.
Another Reason to Buy New
Typically, new homes will need fewer repairs than a home that has experienced decades of wear and tear. And new homes are built with less maintenance in mind. On the outside, durable materials such as siding and other composites are used to replace wood, eliminating the need for repairing or staining wood siding or window frames. On the inside, cork floors can stand up to the heaviest traffic, and granite or concrete counter tops can take heavy use and still look great.
The Warranty is A Factor
With a used home, a home inspection can provide a base point for the condition of the home, but after closing the homeowner is generally responsible for all repairs going forward. New home builders often agree to take care of any necessary repair work in a new home for at least the first year, and may provide additional warranties.
However, it pays to discover and remediate any problems with new construction before “signing off”. Once a home is complete and the contract and final payment delivered, a warranty may be in effect, but it may take time to have warranty issues addressed. A builder may be reluctant or slow to come back and correct unseen problems that pop up once the home is occupied. In cases where there is an arbitration clause in the contract and repairs are necessary, the cost in time, money, and stress can cause a homeowner to abandon efforts to have the builder remediate construction defects.
Always Consider Resale
Another reason for buying a new home – besides that great, new home smell? New homes often sell at higher resale values. A newer home will have more modern and updated features, and may look like more of a “sure thing” to the prospective buyer who doesn’t have a desire to work on a home themselves.
While new home building has been at a very slow pace during the recent real estate “recession”, home building is on the mend. Housing starts are up, new contracts are up and builders are positive about the near future.
Buyer Representation for New Homes
Did you know, when purchasing new home construction, buyers can have their own buyer representation? The real estate agent at the builder's model home is the seller's agent for the builder, representing the interest of the builder.
As a buyer, there are advantages to having your own buyer's agent to represent your interests. Most builders, but not all, have built-in costs that cover the Realtor's commission.
The cost of the buyer's agent is usually covered by the seller, so why not have representation?
Realtors who have experience with new construction know the questions to ask along all the phases of the build.
The buyer's agent can help you interpret and understand the contract.
The Realtor can do a non-biased market analysis, one important and often overlooked item in new construction. Tip: Someone purchasing new construction needs to be dedicated to staying in the neighborhood for 2-4 years after the builder closes out, especially if the new buyer only puts 10% or less down. The builder basically controls the value of the home until the neighborhood is closed out.
Many things are negotiable, whether the builder offers or not. Using an experienced buyer's agent can be a benefit in any negotiations. Agents negotiate every day as a part of their job. How often do home buyers engage in negotiations?
Market conditions greatly dictate a builder's incentive to make deals. A buyer's agent can help you know when market conditions are right for these benefits.
I'm a US Air Force veteran. Have a BS degree from University of Maryland in Business Management. I have lived in and serviced the DC Maryland suburban area for approx 30 years. I have worked for over 25 years as an insurance agent of which 12 of those years have been as an insurance agency owner aka Adams Insurance Agency. Have worked as a Nationwide Insurance agent and associate with the Dwight Redman Nationwide Insurance Agency in Hyattsville Md.
I have been a licensed Realtor since 2007. I previously bought and sold homes for Caldwell Bankers and Keller Williams. After sifting through varied Realty companies to represent, Exp Realty turned out to be a good fit for me because of the fact that it takes changing technology into account in dealing with most Real Estate transactions.
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