Monday, February 04, 2008

New vs. Existing Homes

New home or previously owned? That is, perhaps, one of the first questions you may ask yourself in your home search process. Perhaps you've fantasized about purchasing a fixer-upper and giving it an extreme makeover. Or maybe you've always dreamed of building a home from the ground up and making all new color and appliance choices. Whichever way you're leaning, you'll want to weigh the pros and cons of both before you decide.

New homes offer:

Convenience and new amenities.
Standard options for new homes usually include amenities such as whirlpool tubs, central air/heat and large mirrors.

Peace of mind.
Safety devices such as smoke detectors, circuit breakers and ground fault interrupters come standard in newer homes. Also, new homes are subject to improved safety requirements, which means no-lead paint and asbestos-free insulation are used in its construction.

Comfort.
High-tech solutions in heating and cooling and state-of-the-art materials (such as windows) sometimes ensure a more comfortable, energy-efficient surrounding.
Existing homes offer:

Stability.
The hallmark of an existing home is a well-developed neighborhood with established zoning laws and school districts.
Resale value.
The return-on-investment for an existing home is often greater; especially in historic neighborhoods where the entire area is undergoing renovation and experiencing an upswing in property values.
Savings.
Typically, there's more room for negotiation — especially when it comes to incorporating items such as a repair allowance. In addition, expect to save money on "hidden" costs such as landscaping, unforeseen repairs or dues for a homeowner's association.

Keep in mind that both choices have associated costs. New homes are subject to elevated construction and lumber costs, while existing homes often require some type of repair or remodel. If you're thinking of remodeling, be sure to get an idea of common remodeling costs for existing homes.

Regardless of whether you choose a new or existing home, one thing's certain: home ownership remains a strong investment and home improvement a good re-investment of your financial resources.

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