DSC_0001 If you have ever said, “They don’t build homes like they used to.” You are right. Today we build them better. And, although new homes may initially cost more than used ones, in the long run we believe they cost less.

Here are a dozen reasons why we like new:

1. New homes have lower operating costs. Maintaining a house can be expensive. Because everything in a new home is NEW, you will have fewer major repairs – things like roofs, furnaces, appliances, etc. And, because of new energy-saving construction standards, your energy bills will be significantly less in a home built today than one built even a few years ago.

2. New homes are under warranty. Typically a new home has a builder warranty. This means that certain items in your home will be maintenance-cost-free for the length of that warranty (one or five years for most items, 30 years or more for things like roofs and siding).

3. New homes are built to current codes. Building codes continue to be upgraded, particularly those dealing with health and safety. Current codes require such improvements as a) more fire-retardant products, from wall sheathing to electrical wiring to heating ducts, b) larger electrical services to accommodate today’s greater usage – compare what we plugged in 30 years ago to the appliances and communication equipment we “need” today, c) wider and less steep stairways, d) construction that withstands higher winds and greater trauma – better reinforcing in foundations, better structural engineering and so on. Moreover, local governments are much more conscientious about checking architectural drawings and doing construction oversight; today’s new homes must pass stringent government inspections at each step of construction – excavation, footings, foundation, carpentry, mechanicals, insulation, grading – and they typically cannot be occupied until the town or county signs off on them and issues a Certificate of Occupancy.

4. You do not pay for space you do not use. With a new home, particularly a custom-built home designed for your specific life style, you are building only the space you use. Take the cost per square foot ($120 per foot is a good benchmark) and determine what extra unused square footage costs for not just mortgage, but also utilities, maintenance and real estate taxes. Is that formal dining room you use just once a year really worth it?

5. New homes are designed for today. The way we live has changed over the years. We spend more time in the great room and less in a formal living room. Because family life has become “kitchencentric,” kitchens have grown larger and are as much a gathering place as a cooking space. We now want the kitchen attached to the great room, not a rec room two rooms away from the kitchen. Closets are larger, to accommodate those trips to Costco and all the extra “stuff” of today’s lifestyle. Technology spaces are planned into the design.

6. New homes are tech friendly. New homes are built with the structured wiring required for today’s (and tomorrow’s) ever-more-connected world.

7. New homes are “green.” Building codes and technology have greatly improved the energy efficiency of homes. New homes built in the Midwest under the new federal 2012 energy code must have R-20 insulation in the walls, R-49 in the ceilings and low-e windows, as well as fully insulated basements.

8. New homes are healthier. New homes – unlike their older counterparts – no longer include asbestos or lead paint. Today’s plywood and particle board emit almost no formaldehyde. Copper piping is long-lasting and doesn’t rust like the old galvanized steel pipes do.

9. New homes contain better products. The quality of many building products has sig.nificantly increased. For example, the mechanical equipment – furnaces, air conditioning, plumbing fixtures – available today is much superior to that in older homes. Engineered lumber products are much stronger than standard sawn wood. Roofing shingles are made to last a lifetime.

10. A new home reflects your personal taste. When you build a new home, you can select the style of your cabinets, materials of your countertops, tile and flooring, colors on your walls, type of hardware, features of your appliances, etc., etc.

11. Homes in new developments offer better infrastructure. For example, a new home in Newport Cove is hooked up to a new community sewer system. All storm and sanitary sewers are new. The wells are new. The roads are new. The new television and electrical cabling is buried under ground.

12. New homes appreciate more. Historical statistics tell us that the value of new homes tends to grow more than the value of used homes.

The changes in construction standards are much more dramatic than the public realizes. Just a few years ago, we used 2×4 lumber in the exterior walls, R-13 wall insulation, 80-percent efficient furnaces. Now we do 2×6 construction, R-20 in the walls, 96-percent efficient furnaces, low-e windows, more electrical outlets, better lighting, wider hallways and more efficient floor plans. The quality has increased, but the price you pay not so much. Without a doubt today’s homes are the best built (and best value) our 30-year-old company has ever offered.

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