When shopping for a home, you have two basic options. You can buy a home someone has lived in before, or you can choose a newly built home. Buying a new home, of course, often leads to the need for fewer repairs. Plus, everything is brand new and shiny! Sometimes, however, the shiny newness of a brand new home can cause you to make a decision too quickly. Since you don't have to worry about things like an outdated furnace, you may fall in love with a home's new look and make an offer before really stopping to think about whether that home fully meets your needs. This may make your new home less satisfying to live in than you would hope. To prevent dissatisfaction, make sure you check for these four things before buying a new home.
How efficient is the home?
Efficiency is a focus for many builders, but that does not mean every new home is equally as efficient. When you look at a home, look for qualities like the following, which indicate that a home has been designed with efficiency as a key goal:
- A heat-reflecting roof surface such as metal or light-colored shingles
- Spray foam insulation (rather than basic fiberglass) in the attic and walls
- Low-flow shower heads and fixtures
- Trees and shrubs planted against the sides of the home as an extra layer of insulation
If you're not sure how efficient a home is, ask the builder. They should be able to show your some statistics or measurements to indicate the home's expected energy use. If they cannot come up with these easily, that's a sign that the home may not be as efficient as some.
Does the layout suit your needs?
Just because a home looks pretty and has the right number of bedrooms does not mean it's perfectly suited to your family's needs. You also need to consider the layout of the home you're considering buying. For example, if your home has an open layout where the kitchen, dining room, and living room are all connected, think about how that will affect your family. Will it be a good thing in that it encourages more socialization, or do you think you'll get on each other's nerves when one person is trying to watch TV while another is studying in the dining room?
Is the heating system suited for your needs?
The heating system is brand new and will surely work great. But is it the right type of system for your family? If you have someone with bad allergies, you may want a home with a boiler system rather than forced air heating, since the boiler won't spread allergens through the home. If you and your family members have very different temperature preferences, you may want a home with a zoned heating system that allows you to keep different rooms at different temperatures.
Will the home accommodate change in your family?
If you're going to spend the money to buy a brand new home, you want to ensure that home will suit your needs for a good, long while. So, don't just ensure the home fits your life today. Make sure it will accommodate any life changes you may encounter. If you think you may have kids in a few years, for instance, look for a home with an extra playroom and a fenced-in yard. If you think your mother-in-law may need to move in when she is older, look for a home with a separate in-law suite.
A new home may look so perfect that you're tempted to make an offer too soon. But there are many new homes out there, and each one offers different options. Take the time to make sure you choose the right one.