Should COVID-19 Make You Think Twice About Buying a Used Home?

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When it comes to buying a new home, there are many criteria that people use to determine if it is right for them. For some it is all about looks; what is the exterior curb appeal. After all, most plan sites lead with the exterior elevation to capture your attention and lead you to look at their floor plan. Others are all about the floor plan. Is it an open livable floor plan that works the way they live. Still, others are about energy savings and green construction. It is important that the home is built with a small carbon footprint and have little or no energy bill. But, things have changed. The COVID-19 Pandemic has made people start to rethink their new home. What is important to home buyers in the post-COVID-19 world?

What Are You Getting with a Used Home?

When many people start looking for a new home, they start by looking for a home that is new to them. However, it is an existing home meaning it has already been used by someone else. While the COVID-19 virus only lives for hours or days in the environment, it is going to have a long term impact on the way people evaluate what they want in a new home. In the past, homebuyers saw an existing home on the market and weighed the advantages and disadvantages of buying an existing home. To reduce the risks, they hired a home inspector to review it before they went to settlement or close.

Many items can be caught and identified with a home inspection. But somethings aren’t. Depending on the level of inspection you request, some key things may be missed. Items such as mildew in walls, mold in the ductwork, lent clogs in dryer vents, etc. Then there is the inevitable process of remodeling. It’s rare to find an existing home that is exactly what you are looking for. You want to move a wall, update a kitchen, or even do an addition. When you watch HGTV or the DIY channel, it looks easy. Homes are updated in about 30-60 minutes on your TV. What they don’t have time to show you in that compressed TV time is hidden “gems” that were found during the remodeling process. A rule of thumb is to add 30% to whatever the estimate is to get close to what the actual real cost will be. While you may get closer to what you want, you will not only pay the price financially but also a price in time and stress.

Have You Changed the Way You Live in Your Home?

COVID has also changed the way many people think about the livability of floor plans. Over the past 20 years, the move has been towards open floor plans. The kitchen, dining room, and family room have blended into one large great room. Formal dining rooms and living rooms have been disappearing from today’s home plans. But at the same time, today’s homes have become more energy efficient. Some of this can be attributed to stricter local building codes and requirements, while in other cases, it is just because building products have gotten better overall. 

RELATED: Is Your Home a Sick Home?

But with the COVID Pandemic, many have been forced to work from home. And what they are realizing is that today’s homes have no private space (except for bedrooms). While they may be more energy-efficient, they just don’t really offer a space where you can work away from the distractions of family members that are also home with you. As homebuyers start to evaluate the existing used home market, they are left with two choices; older homes that have broken up floor plans that are less energy-efficient or newer homes that are more energy efficient but offer no private space to facilitate working from home.

New Homes Are Built Better

Building a home will take longer than buying an existing home. You don’t just get to point and buy. But there are many advantages that make the initial stresses building worth it! Here are just a few:

You Can Choose Your Floor Plan and Colors – When you build a home, you get to design it for the way you live, the way you live in today’s new world. Do you have a pet? Have a pet shower built-in near the rear door.  Do you like to cook? Create the kitchen that you dream about. When you build a custom home, you get to pick out just about anything you want in just about any color. You can rethink how you are now living and build your new home to match your new normal. 

Do you want a $50 Power Bill(or no power bill)? – The opportunity exists to build a new home today that is super energy efficient. You can build to the Zero Energy Ready standard for the Department of Energy, and with the addition of a small number of photovoltaic cells (solar) you could have less than a $50 energy bill or maybe even no bill at all. It may sound crazy, but with planning and design, it is possible with new homes today. Even without adding the energy-efficient technologies to a new home, homes today are far more energy-efficient than a home that was built even just 10 years ago. Building Science has made tremendous gains in the last several years. Areas such as windows, doors, sealants, insulation, heating and cooling systems, shingles, etc. are all made to contribute to lower energy usage. Homes today are just more comfortable to live in.

Throw Away the Inhaler –  Because of new energy codes that are in force today, homes have to be more energy-efficient. While this can save money on energy bills, it makes the home much tighter (in other words, they don’t have any ventilation). Now homes must have other methods to introduce good air into the home and filter it. Combine this with much better materials and the indoor air quality is much better than an equivalent older, existing home. For many, the introduction of the COVID-19 virus has made them think about indoor air quality more than ever, and new homes mean safer homes for you and your family.

You Don’t Build a New Home with Used Items – Existing homes typically don’t come with a warranty for the older items and materials they contain. New homes come with a warranty. In most states, the builder is required to offer at least a 1-year warranty on the home. In some states, that may even be 10 years for the structure itself. In any case, new homes offer the peace of mind that you have all new items and if something breaks, there is a good chance it falls under the coverage of a warranty. It won’t be an out-of-pocket expense that you don’t need to deal with as you furnish your new home.

Making it Modular

At some point, you just have to ask yourself, “Do I want to take a chance on buying a used home, or do I want to take advantage of the options that a new home offers?” When you make it modular, you get even more advantages. You know your home was built indoors in a controlled factory environment. Your home was built strong to withstand the transport and installation process. You know it will be resilient in today’s changing weather patterns. Modular construction means the construction process has been turned into a manufacturing process. And just like your phone, your computer, your car, and everything else you buy that was built in a factory; you now it was built with quality and precisions that can only be gotten from a factory. Buying a home built using modular construction means you have also bought peace of mind in today’s new home buying environment!

About the Author
Ken Semler

Ken Semler

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Hi, I am Ken Semler the founder of Impresa Modular. I am passionate about our company and the homes that we provide. Modern modular construction enables us to deliver healthy, safe, and energy-efficient living spaces. Impresa Modular is a licensed/registered/certified builder/contractor in almost every state. I believe that modular homes provide the best way to deliver virtually unlimited design flexibility at the greatest value.

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