Episode 62, Segment 3: New Builder Homes vs. Existing Homes

John Schutze & Andrew Thurston continue their talks about Austin real estate with local agent Daniel Topolski of Culhane Properties. In this segment, everyone discusses the pros and cons of buying new builder homes as well as the pros and cons of looking at existing homes in Austin. 

what are the benefits of new builder homes?

"A lot of the national builders and local custom builders are putting specs, or new homes built before there's a buyer, because they know the resale market has no inventory. They're often nicer, newer, and more energy efficient than existing homes," Daniel says.

"The spec homes usually have a bit of negotiation room in them," continues Daniel. "If you're building from the ground up, typically the builder has owned those lots for a long time so you're negotiating on something that doesn't exist yet, and it's a good route to go because there's not a lot of multiple offers like there are on existing homes."

"People want mature landscaping - usually on these new builder homes, there's brand new trees that will take 10 or 15 years to mature. On the flip side, you are getting a brand new home with a 10-year warranty on it oftentimes," Daniel adds. "I've even spoken to mortgage lenders who factor that energy efficiency into the ratios, meaning they spend less on utilities so their income gets adjusted." 

"Homeowners' insurance is also oftentimes much cheaper for new homes, too," John adds. "A big factor in home-owning costs are roofs, and if you're buying an existing home with an old roof, and you get a hailstorm, the insurance company is more likely to have to pay on that - so a new home with a new roof will have a lot less risk of insurance companies having to pay on."

"A lot of these communities are building further outside of Austin, and typically because they're more on the outskirts of Austin they can be a little more affordable than an existing home inside city limits," Andrew says. 

Daniel speculated that Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Kyle, and Buda are all the fastest growing suburbs outside of Austin currently. 

"Overall, it's a personal preference - everyone is different as to if they prefer a new or older home," Daniel says.

"Why can't I just use a builder instead of a realtor?" 

"We work with a ton of new home builders and most of them prefer to work with buyers who are represented, because they know then the expectations are set, that these people have their ducks in a row and their financing in order," Daniel says. "These builders aren't saving the clients money - actually, a lot of times a good realtor can negotiate things for you like an appliance package or window coverings, so usually using a realtor pays off in the long run."

Daniel started his career with a large national builder and says his old colleagues are all over the place still in the business, "so I have a good network of people that I still work with today," he says.

If you have questions about builder homes or anything real-estate related, just give Daniel a call or text at (512) 633-0295! You can also email him at dtpolski@culhaneproperties.com or visit his website, www.danielsellsaustin.com

For any mortgage or lending questions, contact John or Andrew or give us a call at (512) 524-8310. 


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