Buying a home in a new subdivision can be exciting. You’re often the first person to live in your home, and it likely will have many of the latest features and amenities. But there’s a danger too — one I know only too well.
In 2009, my wife and I bought a new home in a new neighborhood. Today, with the developer still building more houses in the subdivision, we’re finding that we can’t easily sell it — at least, not without losing $20,000 or more in equity.
We’ve learned the hard way that it’s incredibly tough to compete with the developer who built your house, especially when the firm is still building more models nearby.
Here are a few things that you should consider before you make such a purchase.
Are Homes Are Still Being Built?
In my neighborhood, the same builder who sold to us is developing all 80 of the remaining available lots. So why would anyone purchase my home when he or she could buy a brand new one? What do I have to offer that the builder does not? Two new homes for sale have identical floor plans to mine.
This means I’ll have to lower my price considerably to attract potential buyers. Beyond that, I’ll likely have to pay closing costs, upgrade amenities, offer a home warranty, or agree to some combination of these things to entice a buyer to purchase a 5-year-old home instead of a new one.
I could try to lure buyers with upgrades like granite countertops or incredible landscaping, but there is also a danger in having the most expensive house in the neighborhood. It’s often impossible to recoup your costs for those types of upgrades in today’s real estate market. I’d have to take a loss on most of them. So, even if I sold the home for close the price I bought it for, I’d still be losing money.
Do You Even Have the Right to Sell?
You may be shocked to learn that, even though you own it, you might not have the legal right to sell your home in a new subdivision for several years. Many homebuilders are adding clauses to contracts that force you to wait — similar to an employer’s non-compete clause