New Home, Old Home – What’s Best for You?

Prospective home buyers looking at areas where new neighborhoods are being developed have a decision to make that’s affected by price, availability, features, and style: Do I buy a new build or a resale property? Here are some thinking points when you’re considering which to buy:

New build

Purchasing a preconstruction house or condominium unit gives buyers a chance to personalize it to their needs and their style. The buyer can select layout, finishes, and fixtures. New homes also include the latest technology, which means lots of “smart” and “green” features.

The downsides? A new subdivision will likely still be a construction zone when owners move in, and there won’t be any mature trees or green space. Personality may be lacking, both outside and indoors; a resale home often has unique features that add warmth and style, whereas a new build may feel austere. And then there’s the waiting game. Particularly with new condos, buyers may have to wait for some time before the building is finally ready for occupation.

Resale home

A previously lived in home has two advantages that new builds find it hard to compete with: location and charm. The neighborhood is likely more developed; there will be mature greenery, a sense of community and culture, and an absence of the dirt, dust, and noise that accompany a new-build site. A resale home may also have unique features that make it feel special for the right buyer, such as an amazing backyard, a fireplace, crown moldings, or built-ins.

However, a resale home may also be dated and require costly repairs and renovations to make it suitable for a new owner. Because it wasn’t built with the latest materials and practices, it also may be less efficient.

New or old-both have their advantages. But make it all about you and your family, and your decision will be the right one.

Changes to FHA Rules Are Good News for Condo Buyers

One of the biggest changes in the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, passed earlier this year by the US Senate, concerned condominium financing. It’s good news, not just to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which had supported the changes for some time, but also to condominium owners and buyers.

Condominiums have always represented an affordable option for many buyers. But before the bill was passed, it was difficult for worthy borrowers to access the financing they need to purchase a condominium. Community and housing groups complained that FHA rules and requirements were both unfair and onerous – including the minimum owner-occupancy ratio of 50%, which made it impossible for buildings with lower ratios to qualify for FHA financing.

According to NAR, the bill will “make FHA’s recertification process substantially less burdensome, while lowering the FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50% to 35%.”

Also affected is the FHA policy around condo unit transfer fees. The bill requires the FHA to adopt the more flexible model used by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

It is hoped the changes in legislation will open up FHA financing opportunities to more prospective condo buyers across the country, and there’s every chance it will.

In response to the bill, Tom Salomone, current president of NAR, noted: “Tight inventory and rising home prices are a reality of today’s market, and mortgage credit is hard to come by. We should take every opportunity to clear the path for well-qualified borrowers to purchase a home when they’re ready, and this legislation does just that.”