Cost of Owning a Used Home and the Benefits of Owning a New Home

When you're looking to buy a home, you obviously have two options: buy a used home or one that's new. While both undoubtedly have their perks, when it comes to the latter, there's nothing quite like the experience of buying a new home. While we'll discuss more about the benefits later, right now, let's talk money. While it can be a touchy subject, it’s also a rather important one considering what the cost of a home could be. You work hard for your money, so you want to make sure it's being used wisely, right?

There are several factors involved in the cost of a home (such as size and location), and according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) the median cost of a new home in April 2017 was $309,200 while the median cost of an existing home was $246,100. However, what if we told you that a 2014 NAHB article, New Homes are Less Expensive to Maintain, claimed that over time, it's going to be cheaper to maintain a new home? With that said, let's discuss some of the costs you may potentially face with buying a used home over one that's new.

Repairs

While you might think that the previous owners are going to repair everything in the home that needs to be taken care of before you move in, that’s not necessarily true in many cases. It all depends on the agreed upon terms. In some cases, you may have to take some, most, or all of the repairs on yourself so you'll have to be financially, and emotionally, prepared to do that. You might find yourself fixing a loose railing in the backyard, repairing a fence, or having to fix loose stairs. Individually, they might not seem like much, but when added together, it could be a pretty big amount especially if they're repairs that can't wait or that absolutely have to be done before you can move in. However, repairs might be minor compared to some replacements that might have to be done.

Replacements

Replacing certain features of a used home could cost you quite a bit. For example, a roof has to be replaced after about 20-years (but may last longer or less, of course), and according to HomeAdvisor,

the national average for installing a new roof is a whopping $7,066. On the low end, it could cost around $1,500 but on the high end, it could cost $30,000. With a new home, at least you have time to save up that money so when the time comes to replace the roof, it's not such a shock to the wallet. That's just one replacement that might need to be made, not counting others that may have to happen such as needing to get new appliances, getting new windows, or replacing a pool.

Customization

While it is certainly a possibility that you're going to love every little detail in a used home that you're purchasing, it's very likely you might end up doing changes here and there to meet your preferences, and that cost can really add up in the long run. For example, you might come to find you're not thrilled with the color of the carpeting or decide that you really can't live with the bathroom tiles like you thought you would be able to. Certain aspects may be fine as is, but they're all not what you would pick for yourself if you had the choice. Customization can be done over time, but if it's on your mind to get it done in the future, it's still going to be money out of your pocket and time out of your schedule.

Storage

Older homes are not usually known for offering a substantial amount of storage, and this is one aspect that many overlook when buying a home that isn't new. Sure, there's often a lot of donating, selling, and de-cluttering that takes place when it comes to moving out personal possessions, but you're still probably going to have more items in your home than you have space to store them. Needing to add extra storage space could be a real possibility. You might have to add shelving, put in closet systems, expand already existing closets and storage areas, put in cupboards, or add in other little spaces here and there that could help you have room for all your items.

Landscaping

With used homes often comes old trees. As charming and lovely as they are, they won't be so wonderful when their giant branches are breaking off and smashing into your car or home (refer back to the repairs and replacements sections and you can see what a nightmare that could be). Depending on the condition and placement of the trees, they might have to be trimmed or cut down entirely which would likely require bringing in a professional. Additionally, if you're not a big fan of the current landscaping, that might require changing things around in the yard in order to meet your preferences.

Technology

Depending on the age of the used home as well as its previous owners, it might be seriously lacking in technology that you might have to end up having installed yourself. For example, it could be lacking a security system, may not have satellite TV, or might not have surround sound wiring. Everyone is different, so the desired level of technology in a home will vary, of course, but in a new home, all of the latest technology bells and whistles are typically already included whether you're planning on using them or not.

Updating Systems

When you get a new home, you know that all the systems are up-to-date and were put in at the same time, but with an old home, the initial installation date and when they were updated might be scattered over several decades – and that’s if they were even updated at all after they were initially put in. Plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems amongst others in your home may be out of date which might not just be a problem for your everyday comfort level and monthly costs, but also in terms of safety.

Additions

If you buy an old home, you may feel that, as beautiful and full of character as it might be, it's just not the right fit for you and your family, or there are certain features that are missing that are truly worthwhile. For example, you might really want a pool in your backyard, a wrap-around porch, or maybe an extra bedroom that the kids, grandkids and other guests can use when they come to visit. All of these additions cost extra money. To install an in-ground pool alone, according to HomeAdvisor,

the national average reported cost is a little over $43,000. The US Census Bureau states that, in 2015, the median household income was $56,516. If you need or want to install a pool at your home, it could cost you almost as much as one year of income.

While nothing is for certain, of course, the aforementioned are just some of the costs you might find with purchasing a used home. There are a lot of benefits to owning one as well, but when you consider the overall cost over the years you're planning on owning the home, in addition to the upfront cost of buying it, you might find that purchasing a newer home is the way to go. Weighing the pros and cons of buying a house is obviously important, and it's not a decision to take lightly, but if you're thinking that purchasing a new home might be the best option for you or if you're still undecided about which direction to go in, check out just some of the following benefits of owning a new home.

Memories

How great would it be to walk through a home and know that you're the first to be able to make memories there? This means celebrating the holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, and enjoying all sorts of experiences. No matter what painful memories you've had throughout your life, your new, yet-to-be-lived-in home is your blank slate to make beautiful, happy new memories. That's a pretty big new and exciting chapter in your life. 

Safety and features to allow aging in place

New homes are built according to the latest codes and regulations, and safety measures today are a lot different than what they used to be. Your new home may include an alarm system, fire resistant insulation, and up-to-date systems amongst other features. There's a good chance you won't find any unpleasant surprises such as structural or water damage that wasn't initially noticed like what might happen in an older home.

Some new homes today, like Westharbor homes are built to accommodate “aging in place.” Some of the very beneficial features can include open floor plans, main floor master suites and wider doorways, as well as things like space between the kitchen islands and cabinets to allow for better circulation in the kitchen, taller optional washer and dryer units to keep bending to a minimum and entrances that are are equipped with optional ramps as needed for accessibility.

Energy efficient

One of the biggest draws of living in a new home is that it can be more energy efficient than an older home. For example, there might be Energy Star appliances installed, better insulation, and windows that don't let the air out or in when they're supposed to be closed tight. Factors like Energy Star ductless heat pumps, LED lighting and dual pane low-E vinyl windows all contribute to a home’s environmentally-friendly features that not only help lessen the impact on our planet, but save you money.

Customizing

Gone are the days when the buyers had pretty much no say in what their home was going to include. If the home is not already constructed, you might be able to offer up your input as to what type of flooring or tile you want or pick the paint color amongst other customization perks. Let's face it, as fun as it can be to change things up around your used home, it can be a lot of hassle, especially if you really want to make sure it's done the right way and you're not particularly skilled in DIY. Having it done for you while the home is being built is a great way to personalize your new abode without actually having to do any of the tasks yourself.

Builder warranty

Did you know that homes that are newly built often come with a warranty that guarantees certain repairs if they need to be done within a specific amount of time (usually a year or more)? This can help put your mind at ease that if something were to go wrong, you're covered with someone else covering the repair. For more information on new home warranties, visit this Federal Trade Commission page.

Move-in ready

With your new home, you won't have to wait around for repairs to be completed and you won't have to worry about having do them yourself when you move in. You can just move your items in and immediately enjoy the new home you worked so hard for without having that little nagging thought in the back of your mind reminding you about all of those home repairs or a replacement to-do list.

Community

Many new homes come together to form a mini-community within a community that is brand new. With a used home, the community is already in place, and while there's nothing wrong with that, there's something extra special about being part of the start of a brand new community that has never been around before. You can make new friends, learn new activities, network, and get to know the area together rather than possibly feeling like an outsider in a community that's already established.

No supervising

How many times have you had to have a professional come to your home and you had to make sure you were there to let them in, had to stay home while they were working, and then were possibly even delayed getting somewhere else if the job took longer than expected and you couldn't leave. This not only takes time out of your schedule, but you may even lose money if you have to take off work and you're not getting paid for it. You're then losing out on even more money because you have to pay for the work to be done in the first place. Or, at a minimum, it takes away from the time you’ve looked forward to enjoying in retirement. With a new home, there's no supervising or waiting around; everything is already done for you and you get to simply relax and enjoy it.

Less maintenance

Homes today are usually built with convenience for the buyer in mind and built to minimize the amount of maintenance required in the future as much as possible. Since everything is already brand new, that means you wouldn't have to worry about updating anything, such as the wiring, appliances, paint, or air conditioning, or putting your time and money aside to tackle an issue that suddenly comes up such as a rotting stair which—of course—always tends to happen at the worst possible time.

 

Less worry, less stress

One of the biggest issues with living in a used home is that it can feel like you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, like something is going to go wrong at any second that you're going to have to shell out money and time to repair. Maybe you're concerned that a freak storm will blow away already loose shingles from the roof and result in a leak or that the chimney is going to suddenly start crumbling. Unpleasant surprises are not fun in the least, especially when they come with a high price tag. With a new home, you can feel confident and safe that it was built to be long-standing and—pending unforeseen circumstances—will hold up well for quite some time before repairs are going to have to be made.

 

Space for guests

Have you ever tried entertaining in an older home? Many homes that were built more than a decade ago have some rather unusual layouts and little open space that make it tough to entertain. Without open spaces, it can feel like guests are closed off from each other rather than being able to easily mingle. Many new homes today have layouts that are more open, as well as featuring extra rooms and/or bedrooms that are ideal for guests to stay over.

Dishwasher

In the grand scheme of things, a dishwasher might not seem like a big deal. However, they're included in most new homes today, which can save you a lot of precious time, money, and energy from having to do the dishes by hand. A dishwasher is also a big help for those who have health issues and either can't stand for long periods of time or who have trouble managing objects (especially breakables) with their hands. If used homes don't already come with a dishwasher, it could cost you a substantial amount of money to install one or there might not even be room for it at all. According to HomeAdvisor, new installation for a dishwasher can run several hundred dollars and that doesn't count the cost of the dishwasher itself which can cost on average from $400 to $700 or more.

Property amenities

If your new home is part of a planned community, you may have access to a wide variety of other amenities that can range from in-ground pools to tennis courts and all sorts of other facilities. In addition to being easily accessible and fun, all of these amenities, when combined together, can add up to an overall cost that is cheaper than if you were to have individual memberships to these same amenities elsewhere such as fitness center, golf course, or a yacht club.

When it comes to searching for a home, it’s always best to take plenty of time to decide whether buying a new or used home is right for you. One of the best ways to go about it is to make a list of pros and cons, and detail how you, and your spouse if you have one, personally feel would work for your particular wants and needs. You may want to tour some used homes in the area you’re considering a move to, but if there are any newly built or pre-construction homes, it is well-worth giving them a look too. May potential buyers are intimidated right away by the price tag of a new home, but when you look deeper, and consider whether it would be more cost-efficient and beneficial to you in the long run rather than just focusing on what you'll be paying upfront, the concerns are likely to fade.

The aforementioned are just some of the many benefits of buying a new home, and considering the wealth of pre-construction and brand new homes there are in Port Ludlow, there's no doubt that there is at least one that will fit your needs and offer all the little and big extras you're hoping for, along with some you may not have even realized you desired until you saw them in print or right in front of you.

 

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