In many ways it is a good thing. The new home construction industry has made great strides by not only improving our comfort and convenience but also our safety and well being.
Here is a comparison of the most significant characteristics and differences in residential home building standards, techniques, trends, materials and customs to show how different they are and perhaps why we should be glad they don’t build them like that anymore.
Brand new house:
What’s to like about a brand new house?
· It’s brand spanking new!
· It’s under warranty.
· It is a safer building and more convenient than all of its predecessors.
· It won’t contain asbestos, Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing, Chlordane, mold, lead pipes, lead paint, Copper gas lines, R-22 Freon, lead roof flashings, etc.
· It will be more energy efficient. It will contain more attic insulation. It will be equipped with high-efficiency air conditioning and heating equipment and therefore utility bills are likely to be lower.
· More efficient new homes come equipped with radiant reflective roof sheathing that helps lower utility bills even more.
· Although new homes are generally more expensive, this gap can be made up in a few years by the lower cost of maintenance. New homes usually go up in value and fairly soon if the economy is good.
· It will be equipped with many basic features that have been greatly improved. For example: quiet garage door openers, pre-wired for cable and/or satellite, pre-wired for the Internet, heat-resistant windows, etc.
· It may even be equipped with remote-controlled ceiling fans, lights that shut off by themselves whenever no one is in the room.
· It will likely come with a security system already installed.
· It will likely be equipped with a lawn sprinkler system that is intelligent enough to not come on when it is raining.
· Common areas such as a clubhouse, walking paths, green belts, playgrounds and community swimming pools.
What’s not to like about a brand new house?
· Often more expensive. Most people tend to buy larger homes than they previously owned or rented so there may not be an appreciable difference in the cost of utilities because of it.
· The builder knows and expects you to add 10-15% in upgrades, so the price is always more than advertised.
· It has no history. Everything about it is ahead of it.
· We won’t know for some time if any of the newest and latest building materials will be recalled for safety or quality issues like Chinese drywall, Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (gas lines), Poly-Butylene, etc. or even banned from the U.S. such as Chlordane.
· Builders are not only permitted but are encouraged to use materials that have not yet been “time-tested” such as PEX (plastic water lines).
· It will be equipped with water-saving toilets that will actually waste water by forcing you to flush more than once to clear them.
· Will the builder respond quickly and responsibly to any issues that we have during the warranty period?
· Privacy fences are desirable because there is little privacy between neighbors especially tract homes. Particularly true of two-story houses (yours or your neighbors).
· Narrower spaces between property lines. Newer tract homes are being built with spacing more like urban high-populated cities were a hundred years ago.
· Getting the sod started requires over-watering of the irrigation system and keeps the yard muddy for nearly all of the first year. The lawn doesn’t flatten out for nearly two years unless you are able to roll it down yourself before that.
· It may have little or no landscaping and may not even have sod. Some builders charge extra for pretty landscaping.
· Homeowner association dues can be expensive. Common areas and amenities like community swimming pools are not free. They cost money to build and to maintain.