Buying a new construction vs. a fixer upper is a difficult choice to make. This is why I wanted to share my experience of why we ended up picking a new construction vs. renovating an older home. This topic will be a two part post. First let’s discuss how new construction worked for my family, and then a follow up post will be how renovations of an older home worked for my best friend in California.
My best friend and I bought our homes about 6 months apart but it feels like we went through the same emotional roller coaster ride of getting to where we are today. There is a lot of similarities to our own relationship growing up. I’ve known her for over 22 years and our relationship has had its share of ups and downs and have probably gone through every emotion we can possibly think of. Similarly buying a home has its many ups and down filled with emotions, frustrations and happiness. It’s been once heck of a ride for the both of us, and I’m glad I got to share this experience with my best friend.
Now, to start with how we decided on buying a new construction versus a fixer-upper. Well, when we started looking we were open to both ideas, but it was overwhelming for me since it was the first time I would ever be purchasing my own home. A little backstory, growing up my parents and I didn’t have much. Always shared a 1 bedroom apartment in India to sharing a 2 bedroom apartment in California. We did not have the financial means to ever buy our own home. I had to put myself through college, while working 2 jobs just so I didn’t end up in a lot of debt after college. So finally getting to this point was not just “oh we are getting a new home”, for me it was finally living out the American dream. When we started our search, both my husband and I had different ideas on what we were looking for, but it soon became apparent that getting everything we wanted was pretty difficult to find. However, after looking at few home, we actually quickly happened to really like a house that fit our needs, but it was an older home(not too old) but the seller renovated a lot of the inside so we felt like we wouldn’t need to change much. Which helped us make a decision on not buying a fixer upper, we knew if we bought a house that was turn key like this one, it would make it easier on us to not have to deal with having to go through any type of renovations. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, so our search continued. I moved on and happened to come across a new construction listing. So naturally, we had to go look, because why not right?
The next day we went, we saw and we bought. I just had a very good feeling about it. Over the course of the next 2 weeks, I had changed my mind on the model I wanted mostly because I always pictured a more open concept space between kitchen and family room.
Sounds all exciting and happy right? Well, it was exciting in the beginning because we signed, they broke ground earlier than expected and we were supposed to have the house 6 months later. But we didn’t, there were quite a few delays and issues such as the electric work had to be delayed due to township issues, they built our bath tub off centered in our master bath which they had to re-do, they forgot to add specific tiles to one of our bathrooms and the final inspections did not pass the first time around for minor problems. These are just to name a few. We knew going in with new construction there are always delays, but we did not expect to be delayed by over 4.5 months. Even after we moved in you realize certain spaces could have been designed better or made better use of space. For example, our guest bathroom doesn’t have much space between the toilet and the shower, so that’s where we will have to get creative in how we will install our doors. More to come on that, hopefully soon. ☺
So after reading all this, you may be thinking who would want to deal with all of this? And depending on what your personal preferences are, it may not be something you would want to deal with. But at the end of the day, I’m happy, my husband is happy and my kids love their new open space. If you are considering buying a new construction, consider the following and also ask all the right questions to the builder.
Things to consider for yourself:
- Are you willing be very patient through the entire process? Some new builds delay by 6 months or more!
- Are you willing to be ok with some uncertainty? For example, if you already own a home, selling it too early versus selling it too late may have financial implications and will have to be considered?
- Are you willing to get the run around at times of when your house will close or be complete?
- Are you willing to purchase based on blue printed plans and a computer generated designs of the home? Many builders during phase 1(like ours) do not have a model built, so you would have to have trust based on looking at pictures and blueprints.
Questions to ask the builder:
- Are there any current delays?
- What association fees are they, if any? And how much?
- Are there any upgrades included in with the price of the home?
- Can you make any custom changes in the home? If so, how much flexibility do you have?
- Who are the right contacts to give you appropriate updates of the home
- Are there any appliances included? What brand of appliances will be you receiving? Can you change them?
- What are the costs of walking out of the contract?
These are just some items to consider and ask based on your needs and preferences. New constructions aren’t for everyone, just like fixer uppers aren’t for everyone. You have to pick and choose what works best for you and your family. Hopefully this helped understand not only my experience but for yours if you chose to go that route. Next up, my best friend’s journey of her fixer upper and what advice she has on that topic.
Until next time,