New Construction in Fort Collins Real Estate

Nicer Home, Similar Money

A large percentage of my buyers have opted for newly constructed homes. When buying real estate in Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Timnath, Severance or many other places in Northern Colorado, there are many reasons why this is a move that makes sense.

Newer Home = Nicer Home

Sometimes, newer is just nicer. It varies property to property, but if you are considering buying a three bedroom, three bath home in Northern Colorado that was built in, for example, the 1970’s, chances are there is a brand new home that no one has lived in that would cost a similar price.

There is a ton of new construction in Colorado. Drive east on Harmony. You’ll see. The prices of many of these homes are drawing people away from the heart of Fort Collins and other towns to growing areas like Timnath, Severance, Berthoud, Windsor and Loveland.

For my buyers in the $300,000 to $400,000 ballpark, they can buy a brand new home (check publish date, situations change) for what might get them a 20-40 year old home in the heart of Fort Collins.

It makes new construction an attractive option for many who are happy to move into areas like Thompson Ranch in Loveland, the Ridge in Windosr, any of the many other new developments that are going up in Northern Colorado in Timnath, Severance, Wellington and beyond.

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Useful Life

In real estate, as in everything, things have what we refer to as “useful life”. A light switch will last a long time, but it won’t last forever. It has a “useful life” of approximately 10-15 years.

Here’s how Van Education explains a bit of this concept.

Items vary, but there aren’t many systems in the home that will last more than 20-25 years. So, if we are looking at a property built in 1993, it is relatively new compared to structures in Old Town that range back to the turn of the 20th century. Things like the electrical outlets in that 1993 home are soon going to have to be replaced. Plumbing fixtures like faucets and drains will deteriorate. Hot water heaters need to be replaced. The walls can hold steady for scores of years, but your average light switch? Well, they won’t last much more than 15 years. If the owners or tenants are heavy handed, the useful life of certain parts of the property could be even shorter.

So when we compare 25 year old properties to brand new ones, the 25 year old property is going to take a bit more maintenance and upkeep than new construction.

New construction generally equals less headaches for homeowners because the useful life on everything in the home has just started. It could be years, even decades, before a light switch needs replacing.

Here is how AccountingTools.com defines “useful life”

Useful life is the estimated lifespan of a depreciable fixed asset, during which it can be expected to contribute to company operations. This is an important concept in accounting, since a fixed asset is depreciated over its useful life.

Energy Efficiency

I love when the market responds to the wishes of the consumer. I mean, it took long enough, but builders are finally starting to put up homes that consist of more than sticks and mud. And when I say this, I am lovingly referring to 2X4’s and drywall. Sure, there was some insulation tossed in there over the decades, but even in our recent pasts, the homes that were being built were generally not well sealed. Sealing is as big a part of energy efficiency as insulation, if not a bigger part, and builders in recent years have been upping their energy efficiency game.

It varies, per builder, and per project, but in general, newer construction homes are meeting the demands of today’s consumer by being built from the get go with an eye toward energy efficiency.

Appreciation

New construction tends to appreciate in value a bit better than older homes. I am very careful about blanket statements, and for individual analysis of any property please feel free to contact me. But if you buy a new home today, chances are it will appreciate and/or hold value better than a much older structure. When buying a home with the intention of staying in it for an average span of time for a family (3-7 years), new construction makes sense because there is less maintenance, and it will be easier for some buyers in the future to see a lot of value in it.

It’s a win-win, and a reason why I try to make sure all my buyers consider new construction.

Win #1 – Less maintenance. Nothing needs to be redone. It’s just been done. Live life to the fullest without having to renovate the home.

Win #2 – Attractive for resale. Even seven years after it’s been built and you bought it, the new construction home is probably going to be easier to maintain with less to replace than the decades-old home.

Contingency

Do You Have To Sell Your Current Home Before You Buy Your New Home?

Contingency sales can affect the strength of an offer on a piece of Colorado real estate.

Example

You want to move into another home, but you have to sell your existing home in order to do so. If you make an offer on an older home, but you don’t close for a long time on the sale of your existing home, or you don’t yet have a buyer or contract on your existing home, the seller of the next home you want might opt for the offer of a person who has the money now. Sellers don’t want the purchase of their home to be contingent on the sale of another persons’ home. Things go wrong. Deals collapse. If the buyer of the buyer’s home flakes, the seller in the contingent transaction has to either wait until their buyers find another buyer, or they have to find a completely different buyer.

Problems arise when the due diligence period has to start over, and will last another 30 or so days. It’s a cost (another mortgage payment plus others) that sellers don’t want.

The owners of new construction projects will often sell you a home with deals that are forgiving of contingency sales. If you need the money for your down payment or otherwise to close on the new construction, you better make sure the sale of your existing home is going to go through in time. However, this is a benefit that some new construction projects will offer.*

New Construction Does Have Its Challenges

When my buyers opt for new construction, I warn them that once they sign on the bottom line to buy the home, there are fewer ways for them to get out of the deal than if they bought an older structure and used the contracts approved by Colorado’s Division of Real Estate.

With the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate that is approved by the Division of Real Estate, there are five different times when a buyer can terminate the contract and still get their earnest money back. That contract favors the buyer. With new construction, they generally use builder contracts, and these aren’t so buyer friendly. Once you sign, you are pretty well locked in. It’s the nature of the beast in buying new construction, so I make sure my buyers understand this.

For example, when using the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate, the due diligence period includes an inspection period. This is to make sure that the home is in good condition, and that the new owners won’t be assuming problems that they didn’t know existed. Most new construction comes with a year warranty on most of the home. So, if something breaks down, or wasn’t constructed properly, the builder has to fix it (in general). So, there usually is no home inspection performed when buying new construction.

This is a point I want to triple stress—once you sign a builder contract to buy new construction, you are locked in. So make sure it is what you want to do.

Do They Work Well With Realtors®?

When you visit a new construction development, they usually have a salesperson there during business hours to show you properties, tell you about the development and (cough) encourage you to buy. If you are not represented by a Realtor®, they may not encourage you to use one. The thing about Realtors® like me is that I consider it my mission to protect you. Their life may be easier if I am not there. Not that they are unscrupulous or are out to screw anybody over, but if you ask them if you need a Realtor®, their answer may vary.

Since they pay me and you don’t, and since I do consider it my job to protect you, I encourage you to work with a Realtor® on any property purchase or sale. We know how to speak their language. We know what to look out for. Though I’m not trained to work with their contracts, I can still help you understand them. And, with a lot of them, I know them personally. I’ve found them to be mostly fine to work with. If you can’t tell, I am in favor of new construction, if that is what you want. I’ve heard tell of new construction sales people discouraging the use of Realtors®. But I always encourage proper representation.

Any questions? I am never too busy to talk to you or your referrals, and I would love to work with you!

*Check post date. Details and deals change and this is not in reference to any specific home or new construction project. 

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Realtor® Paul Wozniak REMAX Alliance