Dear Neat Homes,

Horror movies are my default entertainment. Given the quantity of ghosts that could potentially be in the walls of certain homes, I’ve decided not to take any risks and opt for a new build. What should I consider before putting down my deposit?

Thanks and be safe,

The Walls Have Eyes

Dear TWHE,

I hear you. Attics, basements, and walls certainly have seen a lot over time. Can you imagine the heartbreak and scandal witnessed by a Queen Anne Victorian? If you want a clean canvas, a new build can be the way to go.

New builds present a great opportunity to customize, they’re pristine, and you don’t have to worry about an old water heater on the fritz. But you may recall that some new builds come with their own ghosts. A famous example is when the new Yankee Stadium was being built and one of the construction workers unearthed a David Ortiz jersey left by a fellow construction worker who was a zealous Red Sox fan. So, bring the sage either way.

  1. Location: In high-density cities, finding space for new construction often means exploring new frontiers. If you’re looking to stay close to a downtown area, inventory may be limited. But if you’re looking for emerging neighborhoods with more space, then new builds may be the perfect fit.
  2. Sticker shock: Buying a new home generally costs more than an existing one, but the exact percentage can vary based on location. But even if you see a sign for what you think is a comparable development, new build advertising often lists a home’s entry-level price range, but when you start adding appliances, upgraded finishings, window coverings and backyard landscaping, your final price may be well above budget. Make sure that the new builds you look at are priced well below your max so that you have space to customize without stress. HomeAdvisor does a good job of detailing all the costs involved here. A huge pro: you’re far less likely to have to replace costly appliances as quickly as you would in an existing house.
  3. Know your builder. While most builders are there to help buyers in growing markets, sometimes timing and profit margins can lead to cutting corners. Make sure to ask questions, read reviews, and work with your Neat Homes buying agent to make sure that you’re working with a team that has a spotless reputation.
  4. Decision paralysis. If too many options overwhelm you, or you just plain don’t have the time, you may not want to move into a house where you could be asked about fixtures, flooring, windows, and more. Conversely, if you want unlimited options, you may want to design a home with even greater control over customization than a large new build development may have to offer.
  5. Less negotiating. While many builders have great incentives, new builds are less subject to the ebbs and flows of the market and the unique circumstances of the seller. Some sellers are highly motivated and likely to adjust pricing if they have a strong reason to leave their existing home and need to be in a new one. Builders are less likely to alter the base price on one home since it would mean they’d have to do it for other buyers looking to negotiate down. So be sure to ask for any incentives they may offer, especially if unsold inventory is high.

TWHA, in the end it’s about getting into a home you love, in a neighborhood you adore, at a price you can afford. Whether that’s a new build or an older home where you brought in all the sage, candles, and holy water you need to feel comfortable, your Neat Homes agent is here to help.

Good luck!

-Your friends at Neat Homes.

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