What Military Families Should Know Before Buying a New Construction Home

Wed, Mar 21, 2018 @ 08:03 AM Mary Ann Eckberg Renting/Buying a Home

Cali house.jpg“You’ll be the first to live here!” the salesperson exclaims.

Touring the fresh new model home, you find yourself swooning over the many features and amenities. With your upcoming assignment, the “made to order” concept of building your own house seems like an ideal option for your military family.

Although, is it really? Now, I’m not trying to harsh on your “custom build” dreams, but take a moment to think about the following points if you find yourself falling for new construction. 

What Military Families Should Consider Before Buying a New Construction Home

Should Military Families Buy a New Construction Home?

Those Initial Repairs

As appealing as being the first owner of a new home sounds, you’ll be the first one to find out about the quirks of the place, such as:

  • Maybe the guest room has sliding closet doors that don’t roll evenly in the track.
  • Perhaps the bathrooms have those cheapie hose lines connecting to the water source.
  • Or, possibly the kitchen range vent doesn’t properly exhaust to the outside.

Since no one has lived in this domicile yet, you’ll be the first to experience the issues that come up. Even with a shiny new dwelling, your agenda on the weekends may include working on your chore list of repairs or dealing with service appointments for issues that fall under your home warranty. 

The Hunt for Affordable Land

Wouldn’t it be great to find your own plot of land? Then, you could build the charming chateau you’ve been dreaming of! However, as you roam from state to state with military assignments, you’ll note that it's often a challenge to find an affordable patch of land to claim as your own. For example,

  • Living on the outskirts of town seems like a grand plan, until you see the grand total of all of the building costs you’ll incur. Even building a tiny house can come with a jumbo size price tag.
  • Putting money down on a lot in a master planned community is another option. But the builder may insist on a certain price which can have you paying a premium for your new address.

Before you set your sights on an empty lot, have a good sense of how far your budget (and your level of patience) will stretch.

Dealing with Rising Costs

Starting from scratch is a delicious way to make a homemade biscuit. But building your quarters from the ground up? That type of recipe is much more intense and expensive. A couple of factors driving up the prices of a new build are the rising costs of lumber and materials and a shortage of skilled laborers.

recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development explains that fewer people are buying new, single family digs. This is likely because the building costs are adding up, creating listing prices that are beyond what most families can afford, as well as the phenomenon of Milennials avoiding home buying. 

Choosing a New-to-You Home

As alluring as new construction can be, often, you’ll get more bang for your buck with a bungalow that someone has been living in. The National Association of Realtors details that an “existing” residence costs 34.3% less than a new build. With the amount you're saving, you can buy a “new to you” abode and add some of the eye-catching upgrades from the marvelous model.

When looking through property listings, go beyond the cosmetic details and focus on the overall layout. If the home has a spacious feel that will easily fit your military family, you’ll be able to prioritize the practical living space over any fancy features.

After a stunning tour of builder's model, the idea of moving into a haven in a trendy neighborhood can sweep you off your feet! But before you buy into a designer dream, consider the points I’ve mentioned here and keep the timing of your military assignment in mind.

Down the road, when orders come along and you decide to sell, you’ll need a ballpark figure for a price point. The “comps” (comparable sales) are easy to research with an existing cottage, but could be tricky to find with a new build in a burgeoning neighborhood. For more information on how comps in the local area can define what your home is worth, take a look at the complimentary home selling ebooks available exclusively from MilitaryByOwner. 

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