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A New Home for a New Year

BY PAT SETTER  Before you invest in a vintage home, consider the perks of buying new.  Here are 10 reasons to buy a brand new house:

1. Personalized Picks - Purchasing a house that has not been completed allows you to customize your home.  In this situation, buyers can often choose everything from the floor plan to the finishes in a new, master-planned community.

2. Modern Design - New homes reflect the lifestyles of today's families, with open floor plans, flex rooms and livable outdoor spaces, as well as plenty of closet space and roomy master suites.  These homes will have all of the outlets and charging ports needed to keep everyone and everything plugged in.

3. Energy Efficiency - Builders continue to be more energy-efficient, which means new homes come with thicker wall insulation, highly efficient heating and cooling systems and appliances, along with double-paned windows and LED lighting.  An increasing number of new homes are also equipped with solar panels, making these residences good for the environment as well as your pocketbook.

4. Worry-Free Warranty - If something does go wrong, state regulations require builders to offer a 10-year warranty on major structural defects - items such as a faulty foundation or sagging roof.  Limited coverage on materials and workmanship usually lasts from on company to the next.

5. Safe Haven - New homes are constructed to the latest building codes, which are constantly being updated to address consumer safety issues.  Codes include elements that range from insulation to plumbing and paint.  High-tech ventilation and air-filtration systems ensure that even what you can't see won't hurt you.

6. Fire Safety - New homes are required to have smoke & carbon monoxide detectors.  They also must have hard-wired smoke alarms with a battery backup.  Smoke alarms need to be interconnected, which means that if smoke is detected, all alarms will sound.

7. Friendly Financing - Builders will often have a mortgage company that can offer incentives to buyers.

8. Neighborly Neighborhoods - Because everyone is moving into the new community at the same time, chances are you will get to know your neighbors, whether it's at a social that's organized by the builder or at one of the many amenities that come with the planned community.

9. Low Maintenance - Besides having everything new and in perfect working order, new construction is also focused on being low maintenance, often with composite building materials that won't weather or crack and won't need to be painted every few years.

10. It's New - There is an emotional factor to owning something that is brand-new.  Like a new car with that new car smell, owning something that has never been used can be gratifying.  The same is true for a house that is shiny and unscratched and has never been occupied by anyone but you.

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