To say that we went into purchasing a home on faith is an understatement. As cliche as it is, we just didn’t know how much we didn’t know. And so much of what we thought we knew was totally wrong.
The biggest false assumption of mine was that there was no way we could have a newly built house. To me, bespoke houses were for people who’ve already been homeowners several times. The kind of people who had grown their steady income over the years to have the security to be picky. The kind of people who were ready for their dream home – and so just decided to make it instead of find it.
We weren’t those kinds of people. We were first-time-homebuyers who were living in less-than-600-square-foot apartment with their two dogs. “Dream home” never entered my mind. “Suitable home” and “an actual house with a fenced yard” did. But “dream…” no.
So since I had “custom home” and “new construction home” set in my mind to be in the same category of “dream home,” I was super skeptical about the possibility of purchasing a new construction home.
But as it turned out – I would absolutely recommend that new home owners go the new construction route.
The Virtues of New Construction Homes for First Time Home Owners
- It’s probably no more expensive than preowned homes depending on the neighborhood. Here’s the thing, all homes are pretty expensive to buy. The difference is when they’re expensive. Homes are either expensive now, or expensive later. The older a home is, the more work it will eventually need. And depending on how much work you want to put the home, you have to figure that into the overall cost. So sure, new construction homes can be pricy – but in our case, we’d have had to spend the same kind of money any way we looked at it, new or old.
- New construction homes are often in newer parts of the community, which means there’s lots of new around you. New shops, new schools, new neighborhoods. And in my experience, newer typically means safer.
- There are no surprises and no cleaning. I’m assuming this is true in preowned houses like it’s true in pre-lived-in apartments, but you always find something left behind by the previous inhabitants. Not so when you’re the first one there!
- Energy efficiency. If you doubt the importance of those two works, allow me to provide two more for your consideration: Texas summers. The heat in Texas can last from April to October with little reprieve and cooling costs can get extreme, especially for large houses. Even in our teeny tiny apartments we’ve paid upwards of $200 a month in the heat of Texas summers. Nowadays though, new construction homes are made with significant attention to how energy efficient they can make a home. Here are some of the features that not only make the house energy efficient, but even more environmentally friendly:
Fresh air management (hypoallergenic air filtration) (YES, I can tell the difference between the air in the old apartment and in the new house.)
Weather sensing irrigation
Optional solar energy.
With all this, we’ll probably be paying well under $200 during the peak summer months for energy and our house is 5x the size of the old apartment.
- New construction homes (typically) come with warranties. This is perhaps the biggest perk of all for first time home buyers. Coming from apartment dwelling, if anything goes wrong, you call the office and people swoop in to solve the problem. Broken lock? Call the office. Leaky dishwasher? Call the office. Electrical malfunctions? Call the office. When you’re a home owner, you are the office. Unless… you have new construction in which case anything goes wrong, I can still call a few phone numbers and bada bing, bada boom! Done.
Personal anecdote: the second day of our move-in, we noticed a puddle on the carpet in a guest room closet. Mt. Man traced the source to AC unit in the attic. It wasn’t draining properly and the overflow went through sheet rock, door frame carpet and all the way down to the slab under the carpet. I made two phone calls ON A SUNDAY and we had an AC technician come by within hours and over the course of 10 days, the damage was removed, the carpet and door frame replaced, and none of it was at a cost to us. #Warranty.
So, future home owners of America, don’t think that a new construction house is out of the question for your first home. It should definitely be considered.