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To Renovate or to Buy a New Home While Surviving the Process!

Before Buying New or Renovating a Home here are some starter thoughts.

Do you want an established neighborhood or a new one? Personally, I prefer an established community with long-term homeowners, but that’s not everyone’s view.

On the street where we live, all but two of the neighbors have lived there since the early 1980s. That means the folks aren’t moving. We all know each other, watch out for each other, and I think there’s something to be said for that. But that might not be your idea of fun.

You might like new areas and new neighborhoods, where you can define the landscaping and ambience, while establishing a neighborhood with new people and sparkling new housing designs. Depending upon the time you have available to work on or oversee construction, this COULD be a simpler option (but not always!).

I’d like to put out a caveat: Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen a major shift in housing trends, where new construction communities gradually turn into neighborhoods with up to 90% of the housing transitioned into rentals. The folks who remained living in the community often share stories of crazy renters and off-the-wall characters.

This isn’t all the time, but I’ve seen it repeatedly, especially for certain home price ranges. Given that issue, if you want information about specific neighborhoods or the most affected price points, contact me.

The Other Factors of Buying New Vs, Renovating a Home

There also - for me - is another challenge when a buyer opts for a new construction neighborhood. Generally, with new tract construction, the materials and finishes offered as options are those that the builder can provide and still make some money. So, if they’re not necessarily the finishes, colors, carpets, or appliances that you would choose, you probably should address that issue with the builder up front. It very well may affect your home’s price if you opt for selections outside of those offered.

Whether you choose to buy and renovate or buy new construction, there's always the matter of how to work through the project with your family member or significant other. It’s a question I hear often. Why? Because working through the purchase, planning and building or renovating your home can place tremendous stress on your time, energy and resources, which can add stress on even the best relationships. Based upon everything I’ve read and heard, if you want to put a relationship to a real test, this would be the way to do it.

For starters, “nothing ever goes according to plan” and “nothing’s ever finished on time,” seem to be truisms. Yet, it’s important to realize that having a plan and a good understanding of what’s to be done and when the construction should be complete is crucial.

But plans and deadlines can be fluid. Things always change. People don’t show up. Delays are commonplace. The finish line is always moving.

I’ve found the best way to deal with all this is transparency, compromise, flexibility and LOTS of communication.

Teamwork and Communication though the process of Buying New vs Renovating

An example: My wife, Cookie, has a job that requires her to be part of consecutive conference calls followed by periods of intense quiet and focus. This leaves her only brief periods of availability for a contractor or builder to ask questions.

Our solution? I try to make myself available as much as possible to limit interruptions for her. And, I am mindful of her day and plan around it accordingly.

In addition, we plan everything and take advantage of each other’s best skills. When it comes to timing and what’s slated for the week’s construction, we begin talking about it at least a week out, knowing there will be changes, but at least we have an idea as to who will handle particular appointments and tasks.

As for the big one - MONEY: Cookie’s a whiz with spreadsheets and details, which helps enormously with these aspects of any project while keeping me in-the-loop on budget, pending disbursements and reminding me about follow-up on certain items (which I’m inclined to forget).

In short, we’re a team. Whether it’s a new construction or a renovation project, I’d suggest that these projects be approached with a team mindset. It will help you deal with emotional ups and downs (and there will be plenty!), and it will help limit the number of surprises.

Whether you’re looking at buying a new home, refinancing your current home or tackling a renovation, that team approach will pay dividends in the long run. Contact me with any questions you may have.

And, as we dip into the holidays and slip toward the end of this year, my entire team, Cookie and I all want to wish you lots of love, a happy hearth and home, and a healthy and prosperous 2023.

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