Part 3 – Build a House from Scratch or buy an existing one?
This is the Million Dollar Question for all future homeowners and of course there are plenty of pro’s and con’s either way:
Pro Building a new Home:
One of the big advantages of building a home from scratch is that the future home owner gets to choose the location. With many lots all around town it’s easy to find the right one with best view according to your personal preferences. Prices for land have fallen over the last couple of years just as much or even more than home prices; this makes land affordable and even lots that would have been very very pricey years ago because of the view or location are considered low-hanging fruit these days. Another advantage is that the home owner can bring in own ideas how to customize his home and what extra features to add. This, however, is usually driving the price up a bit as every change from the existing concept requires adaptation and extra work. Most home builders have a wide variety of homes in all price ranges and different features in their repertoire for the client to choose from – so feel free to mix and match.
Con Building a new Home:
It sounds trivial but it’s true; nature can cause tremendous and even costly delays for home builders. Many lots are overgrown and must be cleared before building can start; however, these lots are often the home of wildlife like the burrowing owl, the bald eagle, or the gopher tortoise that nest there. The nest of a protected bald eagle for instance means that the lot cannot be touched for months. Usually it takes about 6-9 months to build a house in this area; delays are always possible. There a strict building codes and the adherence is checked upon by a city code inspector along the way.
Once the home is ready to move in the next phase of planning can be launched: how to design the interior, how to furnish, and what to do with the yard? This can be overwhelming, especially if the future home owner is not local. One way is to utilize professional help from interior designers and gardening specialists. The general rule is: it’s always better to be present and watch over the steps of the building process to avoid surprises at the first walk-through.
Pro Buying Existing Property:
The Real Estate market is starting to recover, however, prices are still low, affordability is high, and the chances are good to get a new or never-lived-in house for a very realistic not to say low price. The recent crisis has thrown many homes on the market, including short sales and foreclosures as people were losing their homes. The number of homes on the market had reached a record high in recent years and as long as there are more houses out for sale than there are buyers the prices will stay on the lower end for a while but the signs are set on change.
Buying a new or almost new home for a low price is great; buying an existing home where someone has lived in before has its advantages as well. Appliances like refrigerator, washer, and dryer as well as the Pool equipment stay; this is also true for all things that are connected with the house e.g. ceiling fans, lamps, and window treatments. Some homes are offered turn-key meaning that the new owner can move right in as all furniture and all the equipment stays in the house after sale (this is often the case if vacation rental homes are being sold from one investor to the other). In this case, the price for furniture and extras is calculated separately from the house price to avoid creating a false high home price which would result in higher future tax payments. One real Plus is that homes that have been lived in are usually in better shape, well cared for, and often present stunning and mature landscaping.
Con Buying Existing Property:
Just simply looking at the price makes homes on the short sale or foreclosure market desirable objects; however, there are certain down-sides to this. After a while of “not-having-been-lived-in” those homes can have problems and damages that make up for the price difference for a house on the regular market in no time. A house in foreclosure that has been unoccupied and has just stood there with no air conditioning during one of those long and humid Florida summers may have suffered severe damages from mold which can turn out to be a long-lived and very expensive problem for the years to come (and a very unhealthy one on top of this).
Often time’s prices that appear to be too good to be true aren’t truly good; the use of e.g. defective dry wall can make what looks like a good deal into a real bad one really fast. An experienced Real Estate professional will recommend that the buyer gets a home inspection done to reveal possibly hidden defects. In dealings on the regular market the cost for repairs found during a home inspection are laid down in the contract and are subject to negotiation.
This post is also available in: German