Buyers Information

Choosing between a new and existing home

With their belongings neatly stashed in cardboard boxes, the Smiths entered the market for a new home.

The scenarios played out before them. Unsure whether to choose a new home or existing home, they sought out the help of a REALTOR® and a home builder.

Each tossed their own pitch onto the table - both pushing the advantages of either a newly constructed home or a house that already exists. Who's right?

They both are. The Smiths don't exist, but the dilemma is real.

New homes generally come with steeper price tags, but offer more amenities. Homes are becoming increasingly wired for technology, including multiple phone lines and more advanced electrical wiring.

A home can be built to suit the wants of the buyer. Jerry Wittman, executive director of the Topeka Home Builders Association, said better lumber, more energy-efficient appliances and improved insulation can be advantages for new home buyers.

New homes also require less maintenance.

"You're not going to have any severe maintenance for a longer period of time," Wittman said.

Some question marks associated with a new home purchase can be cleared with an existing home.

For a home buyer putting costs over conveniences, purchasing an older home is an option. Existing homes often relieve the buyer of purchasing appliances, such as refrigerators and microwaves, which often are left behind by the previous owner.

Wittman said landscaping and established yards are another plus for an existing home. In an established neighborhood, home buyers can meet their would-be neighbors. The character of an existing neighborhood often differs from that of a new development area.

Inquiring into schools, police presence and other aspects of living in a neighborhood also are possible in an established neighborhood.

"You might go into a subdivision and be the 10th house out of 100 and your not sure what's going to happen," Wittman said.

Existing homes often come with lower price tags because the buyer is paying past prices for labor and building materials. More negotiation in price also accompanies an older home.

Wittman said younger home buyers often purchase existing homes. He said buyers should expect to shell out a minimum of $110,000 for a new home in the Topeka area.

"Being the first one to own something is nice, as opposed to knowing that someone has already lived in this," Wittman said.

Wittman said home buyers should take personal preferences into account and examine the perks associated with both options. He said low interest rates and appreciating home values should have little effect on whether a home buyer chooses a new or existing home.

Content provided by: Morris Digital Works Wire Service