Buy New Homes or Used? – Phoenix Metro Area

Clients/friends of ours have made it a habit to buy a new home every 5 years, about the same amount of time many folks would buy a new car. They seemed to always be on the lookout for the next best Northeast valley community to spring up. When it did, they were right at that new home community sales office trailer when lots became available to reserve, and most often would be able to get a great lot.

April of 2005 saw the lowest supply of available homes for sale at .9 (less than a 1 month supply). Three years later in February of 2008, the supply of homes for sale would soar beyond 20 months. A 2100% increase. That is not a typo. Today, though not a historic low, it’s darn close. No August since 2005 has had less of a monthly supply of available homes for sale

With the current scarcity of existing homes for sale should buyers consider buying a new build? Or is resale the preferred course?

With Caveats. Big caveats. Buyers should consider a new build.

The benefits of buying new vs older:

  1. Duh, it’s new! You can select EVERYTHING you want in a floorplan you want in a community you want, like gas cooking, extra garage, casita (some builders), flooring, finishes, appliances, counters and cabinets, etc.
  2. Builder warranty
  3. Reduced and stable annual maintenance cost in the first years of the home
  4. Can have time to sell your existing home with perhaps just one move
  5. No bidding wars

The downside of new vs older:

  1. Typically higher cost per square foot
  2. Typically smaller lots than older homes
  3. Location of new-build communities are “further out.”
  4. You’ll be living in a construction zone for months and in some cases years
  5. Kids schools are newer, perhaps untested
  6. 7+ Months to build the house unless you buy a “spec.” A “spec” is built new by the builder with the intention to immediately sell it – often because a previous buyer backed out of a deal after the home was mostly built, or the builder is completing the community and is moving on and they have just a few empty lots remaining, so they “spec it.”

If interested, there are two very important pre-cautions we need to give you about new home communities:

  1. New Home Community pricing quoted on billboards, Realtor MLS, all media, and builder marketing materials are base prices only and include no “extras.” Like new cars, advertisements show the lowest possible price.
  2. You should have a Realtor professional show you these communities, at least the first time through them because if you don’t, you will not have Realtor representation. The attractive and bubbly blond agent you meet at the new home sales office is not representing you. But the builder only. The new home buyer is un-represented. The good news for you is that as your Realtor Professional we can accompany you, and be an extra set of ears and eyes representing you only. The cost to you? Zero. And you can’t buy the home for less because we don’t represent you either. That’s a myth.

We’ll talk more about new home pricing in an upcoming snapshot.

About the Author

     I was born and raised in San Rafael, California, from the mid 50’s to the early 70’s. I had super parents who worked hard to provide 5 kids with a good Catholic education – despite my best attempts to overthrow the knuckle-cracking regime of Sister Mary Anselma. My dad worked as a self-employed butcher until his retirement at 65 and enjoyed many wonderful years until mom passed away in 1992.

     Dad passed away in the fall of 2006 having lived a great and full life into his early 90’s! In California, I attended college in Chico and Sacramento as a “Sosh” major, but like many of my contemporaries, I did not have a clue what I wanted to do when I grew up. Because of my age, I missed the Vietnam War and into my early 20’s I had many typical youthful indiscretions.

     Thankfully, that was a brief period of my life, and with greater thanks, not too much damage was sustained in those early and rebellious years. And by the way, those thanks are due to the answered prayers of faithful relatives who prayed for years that a wayward Michael would turn his life over to the Lord, and in January of 1982 that’s what happened.

     I lived in Sacramento, California in the mid 70’s, and later moved to Truckee, California, which is near Lake

Tahoe and Reno, Nevada. Truckee’s often labeled the “coldest spot in the nation.” Why did I move there?

My father-in-law was a real estate broker in Donner Lake, California, and despite his cantankerous disposition, he seemed very successful in his real estate endeavors. I joined him in sales in July of 1976.

    The Truckee and Lake Tahoe area was a wonderful place to raise a family, but a difficult and cold environment to live in, but we did so for 18 years. In 1994, my wife, Karen, and I visited Scottsdale at a friend’s request, and within 8 months, our family of 5 had relocated to “the valley” – or is it a desert? Whatever it is, it’s warm. At any rate, 24 years have gone by since we made the break from the late great state of confusion, uh, California, and it’s turned out to be a great move.

     As for hobbies, I enjoy family, friends and travel. My kids Robert, Kendra, and Jonathan are now 40,

34, and 31 respectively. I recently became “gramps” for the 4th time as well. It’s a nice time of life. Karen remains as lovely on the inside and outside as the day we were married. We continue to wonderfully grow together as the years advance. As an ordained Christian Chaplain, I volunteer Preaching at Florence Prison with Along Side Ministry. The ministry helps make the formerly incarcerated able to function, even thrive, on “the outside.”

     Should you choose to have me represent you in the sale or purchase of your home, you’ll be receiving my 40+ years of real estate knowledge, counsel, and experience (including negotiation experience).

    Beyond the transaction, I’m always available to you, should you ever need my real estate advice.