Everyone has heard that good real estate is all about location. Homebuyers are full of questions when it comes to picking neighborhoods to concentrate their search. Homebuyers constantly ask their agent, "So how's the neighborhood?"
Did you know it would be illegal for your real estate agent to answer the question, "How's the neighborhood?" Federal law prohibits your agent from categorizing a location in terms of race, color, religion, nationality, sex, disability, and familial status. "All of that is designed to prevent discrimination by expressly prohibiting real estate agents from steering clients to specific neighborhoods based on any of these criteria," writes real estate law firm Mikita and Roccanova.
When shopping different neighborhoods for your next home, you'll need to answer many of your location questions yourself through a little research and observation. The newer the neighborhood, the fewer the details you have to find out or worry about. Buying in a new neighborhood means that many location characteristics haven't been baked in yet. It's a blank slate.
Here are some advantages of buying a newly constructed home in a brand-new neighborhood.
Add Your Personal Touch During Construction
Many homebuilders offer build options so that buyers can have a say in their home's appearance and function before it is even built. You might be able to choose an accent paint from a palette of half a dozen colors, giving the home an immediate touch of personalization without upsetting the overall color scheme of the street. You might have a choice of siding, of front door width and design, and of deck and fencing. Expect some options to cost more than others, but you might find it worth the money to customize parts of your new home while your future home street is still just pavement and dirt lots.
Newly constructed homes can cost as much as 20% more, but they initially cost less in maintenance and utilities.
Lately people have been dialing back their enthusiasm for open-concept living space. As if snapping out of mass hypnosis, we suddenly remembered that discreet spaces give members of the household a place to retreat, and walls give furniture a place to anchor and artwork to hang. But wide-open living is still widely popular, and you will most likely find it in new construction. The kitchen will flow into the living room, which is also the dining room and foyer. Everything within eyesight. Open floorplans assuage FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out that defines our age.
Another advantage of newly constructed homes is room size. Bedrooms tend to be larger than in older homes. Master bathrooms are bigger and privately connected ("en suite") to the master bedroom. Older homes may not even have a master bathroom. Rooms will probably enjoy more natural light than in older homes since modern windows are better insulated and can thus be larger and more plentiful than in old homes.
Newer appliances are more energy efficient. New homes have the latest, most efficient insulation. Improvements in window technology will do their part in insulating your home as well. All of this contributes to lower utility bills.
You will face less competition buying in a new neighborhood since you're probably looking at many vacant homes and bare lots.
The Neighborhood Is a Blank Slate
Picture yourself at the entrance to a new housing development. It would be a stretch to call those rows of freshly poured asphalt streets, gleaming white concrete sidewalks, and dirt lots "a neighborhood." If you live here, you'll watch the neighborhood develop around you.
New neighborhoods may lack in walkable shops and schools, restaurant variety, trees, and parks, but they also have no crime statistics to speak of. You can bask in the optimism of watching markets and eateries sprout up around your new neighborhood. In the meantime, you enjoy less hectic streets because your neighborhood is off the beaten path.
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Consumer trends expert Beatrice de Long writes, "Keep in mind that buying in a less-established area requires long-term vision. It may take many years for the neighborhood to establish a reputation. Waiting for price increases and equity rewards takes patience, but I have always seen it be worth it in the end."
Those are some advantages of buying in a new neighborhood. Next we reveal the benefits of buying in an older neighborhood. Also, read up on the common mistakes of first-time homebuyers so you don't goof where they goofed.