If you’re one of the lucky ones out there with a steady job, a nice cushion in savings and an opportunity to buy a new home, you’re shopping in the best house-buying environment available. In many areas where the prices were exorbitantly high, they are now reasonable and have been for some time. In areas where prices only rose marginally, the prices are back down and with a huge surplus of homes still on the market, you can essentially have your choice of house when you’re shopping – so how do you know what to pick to get the most bang for your buck?
New Construction There are still homes available that are being built from the ground up. In fact, you can walk into a builder’s office today and start the process of building your own home and likely walk out with a nice incentive or two. The builders have been hit substantially in the past few years and homes aren’t selling quickly. This means the builders are likely to try and draw you in with huge savings, freebies and specials. While absolutely enticing, these new construction homes might not be your best choice in the long run.
If a builder is offering $10,000 in free upgrades, for example, that’s enough to put in hardwood flooring and maybe buy a refrigerator depending on the quality of the floors and the size of your house. Even with beautiful floors and a shiny new refrigerator, you’re still looking at the costs of moving in, fixing things up and dealing with blank walls, empty rooms and absolutely no special touches. Those costs can’t often be fixed by the dealer and while you don’t have repairs to make with an older home, it doesn’t have any distinguishing characteristics either – it’s one plain white room after another – and that costs money to improve.
Existing Homes Many argue that you’ll find the best deals in existing homes, and it’s easy to see their point. Sellers are anxious to move their existing homes. Even if the market is starting to stabilize, homes may still be sitting on the market for months holding up plans of the seller, making them almost desperate to sell. Almost all existing homes come with negotiable prices, but some are more negotiable than others. While most of the real estate market has fallen and is still considered sluggish, the most desirable neighborhoods saw only a bit of a slowdown.
If you’re hoping to pick up a foreclosure for pennies on the dollar, or grab up a hot bargain after an intense negotiation process, you’ll likely be looking in an area slightly away from the best neighborhoods. It’s not just the least desirable neighborhoods that have foreclosures and houses sitting on the market ripe for negotiation, but the closer you get to the best school districts or the center of the city’s lifestyle, the more you can expect prices to rise and stay there.
Of course there is added benefits to buying an existing home, even if you didn’t get a hugely discounted purchase price. The sellers of existing homes know that competition is fierce, and even if they aren’t willing to negotiate much on price, they are willing to work with you on other things, in many cases. You may be able to have the seller fix any and all problems with the home. You may be gaining a swimming pool, deck and hardwood floors as part of the price. The walls may already be painted a neutral color and any upgrades made to the house stay there, in most cases.
Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck The best way to determine the true price of a new home is to make a list of all of the things you’ll be expected to buy as part of the deal. If you’re getting a new construction, plan on the window treatments, wall paint and every upgrade you’ll need to make it feel like home. If you’re considering an existing home, factor in the cost of repairs and additional benefits you may be getting that you’d otherwise have to pay for in the new construction. Buying a new home is intensely personal, but while picking out what suits you best, take your time and work the numbers – this is a great time to get an outstanding bargain.
About the Author
Rebecca Garland is a freelance writer who enjoys a range of topics including following the trends in Texas and Short Term Housing in Denver. Rebecca is a Houston resident currently enjoying her busy life with two boys in a Clear Lake fixer-upper that is wonderfully located and endlessly in need of updating. You can read more about Rebecca on her professional writing website.
The views expressed by Guest contributors to this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of 2M Realty Advisors, LLC, it's broker, agents, employees or affiliates.