Worried About Home Maintenance Costs? Consider This

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If one of the main reasons you're hesitant to buy a home is that you're concerned about upkeep, here's some information you might find useful on both new home construction and existing homes.

Newly built homes require less upfront maintenance.

If you can afford it, purchasing a newly built home may help alleviate your concerns about maintenance costs. Consider this: if everything in the house is brand new, there will be less wear and tear than in an existing home, which means it will require fewer repairs. As LendingTree states:

“Since the systems, appliances, roof and foundation are new, you’re less likely to pay for major or minor repairs within the first few years of homeownership. That can make a big difference for first-time homebuyers who are adjusting to owning rather than renting.”

Furthermore, many builders offer warranties on their homes, which would cover some of the more significant expenses that may arise. First American explains:

The new systems in your home, like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, are typically covered for one to two years by your builder’s warranty. When something happens to these systems, you contact the builder or their warranty company.”

Existing homes can still provide great benefits.

However, it is important to note that warranties are not limited to newly built homes. Existing homes can also benefit from this option.

Your agent may be able to help you negotiate with the seller to include one as a concession in your contract. However, not all sellers will be willing to do so. If they don't, you can buy one yourself if you want. A Forbes article explains:

During a real estate transaction, a home warranty policy can be purchased by the buyer or the seller.”

A home warranty provides benefits to both parties. According to MarketWatch:

“A buyer’s home warranty benefits both buyers and sellers, as it helps the seller close the deal while providing the future homeowner with peace of mind that they’ll be covered if a system or appliance breaks down . . . Sometimes, a seller will pay for the first year of the home buyer’s warranty to sweeten the deal, but it depends on the real estate market.

If you want peace of mind, talk to your agent about getting a home warranty. They will negotiate on your behalf to see if a seller will agree to cover one for you. Remember, the likelihood of a seller throwing one in is determined by the conditions in your local market.

So, should I buy new or used?

While the need for less upfront maintenance is a significant advantage of new construction, there are some benefits that an existing home cannot provide.

Existing homes, for example, have a unique character and charm that is difficult to replicate. The quirks of an older home may make it feel more homey. Existing homes typically have more developed landscaping and a strong sense of community. As a result, it can feel more inviting than something that is a blank slate, as is often the case with new construction. Not to mention, if you choose new construction, you may have to wait for the home to be completed, depending on where it is in the process. It all depends on what matters most to you.

Bottom line.

Whether you buy a new or used home, a home warranty can help alleviate some of your maintenance concerns. Consult with professionals to weigh your options and determine what is most important to you. 

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