Once you start house hunting, one of your first steps will be to see what new home builders have to offer in your desired community. New homes have stepped up to win the hearts and minds of homebuyers for the better part of the past decade where we’ve seen an unprecedented explosion in new home construction and buying. Once considered a luxury reserved for the rich and famous, new construction has opened the door to all price ranges and styles including high-rise condominiums, townhouses, active adult communities and single-family homes.
Those who have purchased a newly built property will agree that there are fewer experiences more gratifying than watching your home emerge from the ground up. Seeing how each step leads to the next and knowing where all the studs, pipes and wiring are can be every bit as rewarding as choosing your carpet, counter-tops, and cabinets.
One of the primary reasons that homebuyers are so drawn to new builds is that they get to customize just about everything in and out of their new home. Buyers are granted an abundance of design, color and material options. Being able to tailor a home to your tastes can be one of the greatest features of buying a new home.
Keep in mind the freedom of choice associated with buying new extends beyond just fixtures and finishes. Don’t overlook the convenience and comfort afforded by modern floorplans and layouts. Today’s lifestyle is drastically different from what it was even ten years ago and many resale homes often lack the flow and space to satisfy. Take a tour of many existing homes and you’ll find poor layouts and wasted or unusable space. Builders today seek an integrated approach to family living with many of their designs. Friends and family often gather in the kitchen and cooking becomes a group project. Most people don’t want to be far from a TV or the rest of the family when they’re in the kitchen. “Family rooms” are placed next to the kitchen and eating areas to blend into one informal living space. Today’s kitchens are often larger than those found in older homes and feature many of the time saving conveniences that today’s cooks appreciate.
Energy efficiency is another major advantage new homes enjoy. There was a time in the not so distant past where eco-friendly upgrades were considered a frivolous luxury, reserved for those who could “afford to care” about the environment. That is no longer the case. Many energy efficient features that were once pricey upgrade options have quickly become industry standards for all new homes. In fact, new homebuilders are required by law to meet stricter energy codes than ever before. Many existing homes were built when energy codes were either more lenient or in some cases nonexistent. Individuals who are committed to reducing their carbon footprint should keep in mind that it is far more cost effective to implement energy saving features in a newly built home than to retrofit an existing house. This creates a unique point of distinction for today’s new homes as compared to those built as recently as 5 or 10 years ago.
Another one of the great advantages of buying a brand new home is the warranty. Purchasing a home is a significant investment, and you want to make sure it is well protected. In Ontario, every new home comes with a seven year Tarion Warranty, which covers major structural defects and begins on the date you take possession of the home and ends on the day before the seventh anniversary of that date. For more information on Tarion warranties, go to www.tarion.com.
Make sure to take the time to compare the prices of existing homes to those of comparably-sized new homes. You’ll find that in many cases it’s actually cheaper to build new than it is to buy an existing home. Most home owners looking to sell cannot offer the incentives or attractive financing options builders can to move their inventory. In the resale market buyers are often in competition with others and can be outbid. This process can be quite distressing for prospective buyers, who may have to agonize over the price to be offered and at the end of the day have nothing to show for their efforts. Contrast this with buying new – where usually a small deposit provisionally secures the property – and gives the buyer a reasonable time to get the mortgage in place, see a solicitor and then conclude the contract.
Fortunately, Southwestern Ontario is home to hundreds of reputable homebuilders, both big and small, who are competing for your business… and when builders compete, the buyer benefits!