by Rich Rodenburg, Nebraska Home Sales Realtor
There are pros and cons when deciding to buy a pre-owned home or to buy new. Traditionally a pre-owned home will cost less than a new one. The median sold new home in the last 6 months cost $300,000, and is 1,584 square feet, which comes to about $190/square ft. The same size existing home sold for $197,000, or $124/square ft.
Some home owners relish the character and more central location of a home in an established neighborhood, while others prefer the new home and neighborhood in the suburbs instead.
The cost to maintaining a home must be considered. Homes need new roofs every 20-30 years. If you buy a home with a 15-year-old roof, start budgeting for a new one accordingly. Furnaces and water heaters also have a life span. A home warranty may spread the cost of replacement over time, but the budget should account for the replacements. Of course, a brand new home also starts the clock ticking for these eventual costs, but everything starts as new out of the box. Many home buyers of older homes also have ideas to immediately or eventually do some remodeling, or at least paint and flooring. New construction homes may require new landscaping.
A new construction home can be customized to fit your needs and personality. Spec homes, where a builder starts (and maybe finishes) construction without a buyer under contract, and custom homes, where the buyer works with the builder (and possibly an architect and designer) to make the home fit the buyer’s ideas. Even a spec home, if purchased early enough in the building process, can be customized.
Timing is a consideration. You can purchase an existing home and be in it (depending on financing) in 2 to 6 weeks. A new custom built home will usually take about 6 months from digging the hole to occupancy. Longer, if the designer and/or architect need to draw the plans, get buyer’s approval, and agree on pricing before construction can begin.
Most builders and sellers are represented by Realtors, and the buyer should be as well. Let us help you find that perfect home whether looking at a pre-owned home or deciding to go new.