New Construction vs. Existing Homes

buyers Brad Cohen April 18, 2024

In the midst of today's housing market, prospective buyers are presented with a ton of options, each carrying its own set of advantages and considerations. New constructions, older homes, renovated homes, fixer-uppers, and the list goes on. If you're looking for a home in Rockingham County, you'll notice your home searches are often inundated with Ryan homes or D.R. Horton homes. With new builds popping up all over the Shenandoah Valley, new construction homes are almost always available for new buyers. So far in 2024, there have been 86 new construction homes sold or placed under contract in Rockingham County. But...are they always the right choice?

Whether you're drawn to the allure of a newly constructed home or the established charm of an existing property, making an informed decision is key. Let's delve into the pros and cons of both, while shedding light on the indispensable role of a buyer's agent in your homebuying journey.

Benefits of New Construction

Modern and Customizable: The appeal of new construction lies in its modern and customizable floor plans. Whether crafting your dream home from scratch or opting for a pre-built gem, the flexibility to tailor your living space to suit your lifestyle is unparalleled. From spacious bedrooms to abundant natural light, new construction homes offer a canvas for personalized comfort.

Personalized Finishes: Elevate your living experience with personalized finishes. Engaging with builders prior to completion allows for upgrades beyond standard materials, ensuring your home reflects your unique style and preferences.

Energy Efficiency: Embrace the future with energy-efficient features. From smart appliances to sustainable building materials, new construction homes prioritize efficiency, resulting in lower utility bills and a reduced environmental footprint.

New Home Communities: Discover more than just a home – embrace a lifestyle. New construction often means becoming part of vibrant communities with amenities tailored to modern living, from parks to smart technology integration. Communities like Preston Lake offer beautiful homes and a great clubhouse and pool. 

Flexibility: Enjoy the luxury of time with flexible moving timelines. Whether purchasing a home in progress or customizing from scratch, new construction caters to buyers seeking a tailored experience.

However, the allure of new construction comes with potential drawbacks:

Higher Costs: New construction typically commands a higher price tag compared to existing homes, reflecting the investment in modern amenities and craftsmanship.

Commute Considerations: The pursuit of new construction often leads to suburban or rural areas, potentially extending commute times and limiting nearby amenities. As homes continue to be built, developers are continuously having to spread further away from downtown areas. Route 33 is expanding East and D.R. Horton is building in Broadway, VA but travel times into Harrisonburg are gradually increasing.

Lack of Mature Landscaping: Patience is key as newly constructed landscapes take time to flourish, contrasting with the lush greenery of established neighborhoods.

Potential Delays: Building a custom home entails inherent risks of delays, requiring careful planning and flexibility.

Benefits of Existing Homes

Move-In Ready: Enjoy the convenience of immediate occupancy with existing homes, minimizing the wait time between closing and move-in.

Established Neighborhoods: Embrace the character of mature neighborhoods, adorned with lush landscapes and rich history, fostering a sense of community and charm. Old Town and Westover Hills have beautiful trees and landscaping, with a welcoming charm. 

Lower Price Points: Existing homes often come with a more accessible price point, offering affordability in a competitive market.

Fewer Decisions: Skip the decision fatigue and focus on personalization. Existing homes offer architectural nuances and historical charm without the hassle of extensive customization.

However, challenges of existing homes include:

Outdated Features: Navigate outdated floor plans and technology, potentially requiring costly upgrades to align with modern living standards.

Energy Inefficiency: Brace for higher utility bills and environmental impact with less energy-efficient features common in older homes.

Maintenance Needs: Prepare for the possibility of unforeseen repairs and maintenance, particularly in aging appliances and infrastructure.

Timeline and availability: That stunning home in Highland Park that you’ve been eyeing will go up for sale when they’re ready or they might never sell. The right existing home might take some time to find so if you’re on a timeline, older homes won’t always be an option.


You Still Need A Buyer's Agent

Regardless of whether you lean towards new construction or existing homes, one aspect remains constant – the need for expert guidance. A buyer's agent acts as your advocate in the complex world of real estate, ensuring your interests are prioritized every step of the way.

Partnering with a buyer's agent offers invaluable benefits, especially considering that the builder’s agent will always prioritize the builder’s best interests. With a buyer's agent by your side, you gain access to expert negotiation power, allowing you to leverage their expertise to secure extras and amenities, thereby maximizing the value of your investment. Additionally, your agent provides essential financing guidance, helping you navigate the complex maze of financing options to secure a mortgage that aligns seamlessly with your financial goals. Furthermore, your agent ensures thorough inspection oversight, safeguarding your investment by identifying potential issues and protecting against future expenses.

Although skipping an agent may seem cost-effective upfront, it could result in unforeseen expenses down the line. An agent acts as a safeguard, ensuring your best interests are protected throughout the transaction.

Real estate agents play a crucial role in new construction transactions. They assist in finding homes, advising on price, negotiating on your behalf, and offering expertise on financing options. Additionally, agents with new construction experience can guide you in selecting the right builder, avoiding surprise charges, protecting resale value, and ultimately saving you money.

Selecting the right real estate agent for your new construction purchase involves seeking recommendations from friends and family, leveraging previous relationships with agents, or utilizing agent matching services. Regardless of the method, having a knowledgeable agent by your side is essential for making one of life's most significant investments.

Whether embarking on the journey of homeownership for the first time or seeking to expand your real estate portfolio in Rockingham County, the guidance of a buyer's agent is indispensable. With their expertise and advocacy, you can navigate the nuances of new construction and existing homes with confidence, ultimately finding the perfect abode to call home in the heart of Harrisonburg's Shenandoah Valley.

Work With Us

Ready to buy, sell, or invest in Virginia real estate? Reach out to our experts today to start a conversation. We're here to help.