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The Washington Independent

Understanding the true cost of new build homes

Understanding the true cost of new build homes

Generally speaking, we view newly built homes as the most expensive type of home you can buy. When you look for a new house, and there are two similar ones in the same area, the newer one will almost always be more expensive. Especially if it hasn't even been built yet, or it has recently been constructed.

Elyse Woods
Finance
Sep 13, 2021

Table of Contents

Generally speaking, we view newly built homes as the most expensive type of home you can buy. When you look for a new house, and there are two similar ones in the same area, the newer one will almost always be more expensive. Especially if it hasn't even been built yet, or it has recently been constructed.

Consequently, many people are deterred from purchasing brand new homes as the belief is that they are overpriced and very expensive. However, when we take a look at the wider picture, things might not be as obvious as you first thought. To understand the true cost of brand new homes, we need to uncover what they bring to the table that older homes don't possess.

More robust materials

To start, newer homes are built with better and more robust materials than a lot of older ones. For instance, you can view two properties, and one will have older materials that were used when it was manufactured. These materials were good at the time but have since been surpassed by more modern and effective materials. As an example, a lot of newly built homes will incorporate stainless steel tubing as part of the drainage system, while older homes have less robust materials in their place.

Why does this matter?

Put simply, more robust materials are better at what they do. They are more effective and will be less likely to succumb to wear and tear. What tends to happen is, you buy an older home, then spend money upgrading a lot of the older materials around the house. The roof is a fantastic example of this; old houses typically get their roofing replaced because it's a) already worn, and b) there are better materials out there that last for longer and do a better job.

Far more energy efficient

The previous point talks about how modern materials save money over time on replacements and repairs. However, there's another advantage of modern materials in newly built homes; they're incredibly energy efficient.

Old houses were built to the standards that were acceptable at the time. For many homes, we're talking about standards from two, three, maybe even four decades ago. Back then, houses didn't need to be energy efficient - but they do now.

Newly built homes are built to the current energy efficiency standards, meaning they are designed to conserve as much energy as possible. While the primary goal of these standards is to reduce energy consumption and save the planet, it has a huge benefit for homeowners. When buying a new build, you will spend less money on your monthly energy bills. It's simply a case of your home being built to save energy, meaning you save money. This is something people forget about when they consider the costs of a new home. Yes, you're paying a premium price upfront, but the ongoing savings month after month on your energy bills will all add up.

A longer lifespan

Which home is likely to last longer:

  • One that was built 20 years ago and has had numerous owners
  • One that's being built right now and nobody has ever lived in

Naturally, the second option is going to provide the most longevity. Again, this partially goes back to the materials used during the construction phases, but it's also just because the new house is...well...brand new!

Older homes have the disadvantage of dealing with the daily rigors of life for years and years. This means facing up to a battering from the weather - a 20-year-old home has had to deal with 20 winters, who knows how many rainstorms, and possibly even a hurricane or two. Plus, you factor in the internal wear and tear from families and homeowners. Overall, it stands to reason that older homes are already old and battered, so they will need repairs or fixing within the next couple of decades.

Meanwhile, a brand new home shouldn't need any repairs or replacements for many years to come. A combination of its newness and modern building materials means it can stand up to the test of time. This saves money as you don't need to pay for constant repairs, but it can also mean you don't have to move house to find one that isn't breaking down.

No previous owners

It was touched upon in the point above, but a genuine advantage of new homes is that they have no previous owners. A problem with older homes is that you put your faith in previous owners maintaining them. It's highly common to see an old home that's been improperly maintained over the years, leading to a whole host of internal and external issues.

Even something simple and trivial like the cleanliness of a home is a big deal. If the house has been poorly maintained, you might need to spend extra money getting it thoroughly cleaned before you move in. With new builds, this is never going to be an issue as the property will be perfectly maintained and ready for its first owner.

On the other end of the scale, improper maintenance could lead to significant problems - such as issues with the roofing or constant mold throughout the building. These things cost a lot of money to fix, and they're easy to avoid with a new build.

Conclusion: Are new builds really more expensive?

On the face of things, a new build will always be more costly than an older home. They command a premium price, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Firstly, factor in the lack of repairs or little upgrades you would typically make when moving into an older home. Normally, you'd pay lots of money to clean the house, replace old things, fix any niggling issues, and so on. You don't have to do this with a new home, so the premium price already seems less daunting.

Then, consider the long-term financial gains of a new house. Saving money on your energy bills is so critical, but you also save money on ongoing repairs and maintenance because the house is new and made from modern materials.

Overall, when you look at the true cost of a new home, it's really not as expensive as you first think.

Elyse Woods | As a product marketing manager, I've had the opportunity to help a variety of companies improve their sales margins and audience reaction to new products. Since I am passionate about product perception, marketing, and company statistics, I have brought commitment and positive results to the companies with which I have worked. What makes a product successful fascinates and inspires me.

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