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New Construction vs an Existing Home- Which is Best for My Family?

The real estate market in Vermont is filled with great opportunities to buy both new and existing construction. Opportunities abound for the discerning house hunter in nearly every price category. The available inventory of new and existing homes coupled with the record low interest rates offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. But should you build new, or buy and existing home? Today I will outline benefits and drawbacks to both.

Buying a New Construction

Essex VT New Homes for Sale

New Construction in Essex

  • Have it the way you want it! Being a broker and developer of new homes in the Burlington, Essex, South Burlington, and Williston areas of Chittenden County, I am constantly speaking to home buyers that are looking into new construction, and the reason they chose to build new is that they can have the home theyWANT to have, and not buy someone else's idea of a great home. Most builders will offer a variety of floorplans to chose from, and if you get in early enough you can even customize certain elements of the design. Want a tile shower instead of fiberglass? No problem. Want to make the deck a few feet bigger?You've got it. Prefer hardwood for the downstairs living room instead of tile? Fine. These questions are not so easily answered when buying a pre-existing home, and simple renovations can cost much more than if you were to do them at the time of construction!
  • Be the only one that has lived in your home! It may sound obvious, butit isabsolutely worth mentioning. When you buy new, you are not dealing with someone else's sense of decor that you may have to spent a great deal of money to make it the way you want it.New Construction is like a clean, new slate to work with. Paint the colors you wish, and you also won't feel the need to steam clean every carpet in the place before you let your kids in the house. They'll be brand new, ready for YOUR family's spills and stains- not someone elses!
  • Energy Efficiency Most people do not consider this, but I personally think it is the first thingthat SHOULD be considered when evaluating whether to buy a new or existing home. Most (not all, unfortunately)builders that are constructing new homes these days are using the latest GREEN building techniques- high efficiency windows, ultra- efficient heating and boiler units, and advanced framing and insulating techniques to name a few. All of these techniques and building practices REALLY make a difference when you are looking at the costs and comfort levels of new and existing homes (evenwhen comparing relatively"young " homes- 5 years!) Less draft in the winter, cooler living areas in the Summer, and LESS MONEY EVERY MONTH spent on heating/ cooling/ electricity costs are some of the benefits you will see with buying a newer home. (More so if it is Green Certified, of course!)

Buying an Existing Home

Colchester VT Home for Sale

New Construction in Essex

  • No need to wait! The average time to build a new home can range anywhere from 15-20 weeks. Obviously, if time is NOT on your side to wait for your new home to be built, an existing home may be the best option for you. Buying a new home may take an additional level of coordination, especially when you are selling another home to make the purchase possible. Typically, most sellers of existing homes are willing to wait for you to officially close on your current home to make the sale work, because the time frame is usually only a few weeks. Buying a new home adds a bit more time to the buying process, which in turn can take some more coordination when you are selling your home to make the new home purchase a reality.
  • The Benefit of Buying in an "Established Area" There is a great deal to be said about buying in a neighborhood that has been around for years. For one, it is easy to see how people have been maintaining their homes, and if home values have stood the test of time. If they have, you can feel confident with relative certainty that the trend will continue for years to come. Also, older existing neighborhoods often have an established since of community-- a benefit that typically takes years to establish in a newly built community.

There are obvious benefits to both options- buying new and existing. You and your family will need to weigh the pros and cons to both. Luckily, offers a "new construction" search criteria that allows you to search for ONLY new construction if you wish, to aid in your search process. Feel free to also search for existing and established neighborhoods in our "popular neighborhood" section, or peruse homes by Town; the possibilities are endless.