Newly constructed homes offer many benefits to homeowners. From modern floor plans to increased efficiency, new homes offer the design and flexibility that today’s home buyers desire. The purchase of a new construction home is also a very practical decision, offering cost savings on operation, freedom from worry over maintenance and repairs, protected property values and more.
Just like automobiles built today are designed to perform more reliably, new homes are built using cutting-edge building products that are specifically engineered to require less care and maintenance, and are specifically engineered to work together. With a resale home, buyers may or may not know what they are getting into in terms of the quality of the repairs that have already been completed, or what is to come, in terms of needed repairs. “New construction is simply meant to last longer, so homeowners are not likely to need to install a new roof, replace a water heater or air conditioner, or need plumbing repairs,” says Brooks Harris, Chief Business Development Officer for Harris Doyle Homes. “New homes make things much easier for homeowners, who will just be able to enjoy living in their home, and not be burdened with a ton of maintenance from the get-go.” The features (from carpet to paint to flooring, etc.) in newly constructed homes should also hold up better than those in existing homes, which may have already experienced years and years of wear and tear.
Many licensed home builders provide written warranties. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Warranties for newly built homes generally offer limited coverage on workmanship and materials relating to various components of the home, such as windows, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, and electrical systems for specific periods. Warranties also typically define how repairs will be made.” For a consumer, the warranty demonstrates that you are purchasing from a reputable builder who is agreeing to stand behind the home and its components. In addition to the home warranty, most appliances and many other components come with warranties for extended periods. When you purchase a resale home, a home inspection may not reveal a repair that will need to be completed a year or two down the road. The warranty will mean that at least a portion of the repair costs will be covered. “A home is the largest investment most of us will ever make,” says Harris. “We want our customers to feel great about making that investment with us.” The builder has developed a unique brand of customer service which gives customers confidence that Harris Doyle Homes will be with them all the way to the end of the warranty period. The program has been such a successful tool that Harris Doyle Homes has been honored with GuildQuality Guildmaster with Distinction recognitions. The GuildQuality Guildmaster Awards celebrate service excellence, as demonstrated by a customer recommendation rate of 90 percent or greater.
Twenty-two percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. is used in homes. Today’s new homes are far more energy efficient than homes built just a decade ago. And compared to homes built 20 or more years ago, new homes are incredibly more energy efficient, resulting in substantial energy and cost savings. Combined, space cooling and heating make up 21 percent of residential electricity consumption in the U.S. (in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available), and combined, make up the largest share of U.S. residential electricity consumption. Therefore, many energy efficiency efforts are designed to improve heating and cooling in homes. Improved wall, ceiling and floor insulation; dual or triple-pane windows that retain more heat in winter and keep the home cooler in summer; and special window coatings all help turn back the electric metric, saving energy and money in both heating and cooling season. Newly-built homes often include energy efficient appliances, like stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, water heaters, furnaces, or air conditioning units. It is possible for buyers of resale properties to retrofit their homes and replace appliances, but it may require a significant upfront expense, or renovation loan.
Today’s building codes mandate increasingly higher energy efficiency standards, so newer homes will also be more energy efficient than older homes, simply by meeting building code. Harris Doyle Homes builds new homes under today’s stringent building codes, including Alabama’s newly adopted Statewide Energy Code, that are far more energy efficient than homes built even just a few years ago. Newly constructed homes have a more tightly-sealed building envelope that helps prevent conditioned air from escaping (keeping cool air in during the warmer months, and warm air in during the colder months). Features that help create this envelope include higher-efficiency insulation, doors, and windows. Many home builders go even further by offering additional eco-friendly upgrades and options. For example, Harris Doyle Homes offers low E (low-emissivity) window panes that reflect infrared energy, radiant barrier roof decking, tankless water heaters, high efficiency furnaces and spray foam insulation. Harris Doyle Homes has also partnered with EcoThree, which offers energy efficiency certifications to homeowners. This third-party company conducts energy audits and makes necessary changes to improve a home’s comfort level and energy efficiency and lower utility costs. EcoThree’s nationally accredited team of hometown experts uses the latest technology to make well-built Harris Doyle Homes even more comfortable and energy efficient.
Newly built homes include safety features that may not be present in homes built 20 years ago, including state-of-the-art circuit breakers, electric garage door infrared beam safety sensors, fire retardant carpet and insulation, hard-wired smoke detectors and cabinets and carpets and paints with fewer volatile organic compounds, so that you and your family can breathe easier. The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey report, How American Homes Vary By the Year They Were Built showed that newer homes include more safety features such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Consumer safety issues are continually addressed in building code regulations, so homes that are built conforming to today’s building codes will be safer than older homes. According to The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Healthy Homes, “The link between (….) housing features and illness and injury is clear and compelling. Homes’ structural and safety features can increase risk for injuries, elevate blood lead levels, and exacerbate other conditions. Poor indoor air quality contributes to cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and other illnesses.” Today’s new homes meet stringent energy standards and codes not in place in the past. Newly constructed homes combine high-performance energy efficiency with state-of-the-art ventilation and air filtration, resulting in year-round, draft-free comfort and improved indoor air quality.
Buyers are a crucial part of the design process on many new homes. Builders work with their buyers to create a living space specifically tailored to the customer’s needs and desires. From the floorplan to the doors to the countertops, the opportunity for flexibility is practically limitless. “At Harris Doyle Homes, we offer a high level of plan customization so that each home we build will be ideally suited for its owner. Included are non-structural changes to existing plans made with our Plan Customization Program” says Harris. Buyers can choose the home site that they like the best, where a bathroom, patio, master suite or garage might go; the exterior elevation and even materials or paint colors; expanded sitting areas, pantries closets or storage areas are all possible. Buyers can choose the flooring, cabinets, countertops, appliances, carpets, fixtures, lighting and other options so that the home truly reflects the individual’s personal style. These types of uniquely individualized, personal touches simply cannot be easily made on a resale home.
Many new homes are built in communities that include resort-style community centers, pools, hiking trails, playgrounds, sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, protected open space and some of the area’s best new schools and shopping near (or within) the new home community. Not only are these a major convenience, they also offer opportunities for neighbors to get to know one another. When families move in to a community around the same time, they often form bonds of friendship and neighborliness. Additionally, many home builders and/or home owners’ associations host community parties in new developments to help home owners meet and connect.
The New Factor:
For some buyers, there is just nothing like owning something that is brand new, whether it’s a coat, a car or a home. Being able to park in a clean garage, being the first to ever use the refrigerator or take a shower in the home is a large part of the appeal of new construction. That appeal extends outside of the home, as well, with brand new landscaping that projects that curb appeal that buyers seek. The home is built to their exact tastes and preferences, reflects their personal choices and will be the place that they build their own family memories. A resale home can certainly be turned into a home that a buyer learns to love, but many buyers simply prefer that never-lived-in feeling of new construction.
Many buyers think that they may not be able to afford new construction, but there are several reasons why new construction can be as affordable, or more affordable, than resale. New homes simply don’t require the maintenance or remodeling that older, resale homes required. Builders may offer discounts, especially during slower buying seasons, or run promotions that pay for closing costs or reduce the costs on upgrades. Additionally, buyers of new construction may be able to take advantage of mortgage financing perks made available through their builder. Some new home builders partner with mortgage companies that can offer savings to buyers. Harris Doyle Homes has partnered with a select group of Preferred Lenders in the area that offer a wide array of products to finance a home such as 100% USDA financing, 99.5% Alabama Housing Authority loans and 96.5% FHA loans. Lastly, since the cost to operate the home is less (thanks to today’s energy efficient construction methods, systems and appliances), the total monthly cost on the home, including utilities, could be more affordable than one might think. Homes built in 2012 offer life-cycle (30-year) energy costs savings averaging $4,763 to $33,105, depending on the climate in which the home is located, over homes built just six years earlier.
A Few Other Advantages of New Homes over Resale:
- Modern Conveniences: In new homes, many modern conveniences are standard, including built-in dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves, wiring systems and more.
- Greater Average Square Footage: Homes built today offer more living space. The median square footage of a single-family home built in the 1960s or earlier stands at 1,500 square feet today. In comparison, the median square footage of single-family homes built between 2005 and 2009 stands today at 2,200 square feet.  According to Generations United, 4 million Americans live in some type of multigenerational household, with multigenerational households accounting for 16.1 percent of the U.S. population. The increase in square footage goes hand in hand with the increase in prevalence of multigenerational households.
- Spaciousness: It’s not just about square footage; floorplans in today’s new construction are more open, allowing for living and entertaining to flow from one room to another. Older home floorplans had more distinct rooms that leave family members and guests feeling closed off from one another. “The feeling of spaciousness in today’s new-home layouts often is enhanced with higher ceilings and additional windows that bring in more light than you would find in an older home,” says The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
- Wired for Modern Life: NAHB also points out that older homes were wired much differently than houses today. Older homes were not wired for multiple televisions, DVRs, computers, gaming systems, cable and more, and often do not have outside outlets. “New homes can accommodate advanced technologies like structured wiring, security systems and sophisticated lighting plans, and can be tailored to meet the individual home owner’s needs.”
From energy efficient features to customization to financing options and more, Harris Doyle Homes has built a reputation for providing the advantages of a new home, with quality standards that homeowners can count on from start to finish. The Alabama builder strives to build quality new homes that exceed people’s expectations in terms of design, amenities and customization. The company was named Builder of the Year in 2010 and continues to receive Guildmaster GuildQuality recognitions for customer service. Harris Doyle Homes has new home communities in Trussville, Gardendale, Alabaster, Pelham, Vestavia Hills, Auburn and Pike Road, AL. For more information on new construction homes by Harris Doyle Homes, visit www.harrisdoyle.com.