The hunt to find the perfect new home can be a daunting task for a person in any stage of life. Budget, family, lifestyle, proximity to the desired amenities and architectural preference must all be considered – and oftentimes it’s difficult, even with the help of a professional, to identify a house currently on the market that meets all of one’s expectations.
As a solution to the question of finding their next home, more and more Louisvillians are turning in another direction, essentially taking matters into their own hands with the realization: If you can’t buy it, why not build it?
Dana Anderson, director of the New Homes Division at Semonin Realtors, asserted that now is an ideal time to consider the benefits of building new, at least in part due to opportunities afforded by the burgeoning housing market.
“We have seen a major increase in sales and movement in the Louisville metro marketplace in 2012 verses 2011. For example, in our company we’ve had an over 20 percent increase this year over last year, in terms of sales. And that’s wonderful for the Louisville market,” she noted, continuing, “The number one competitor for new construction product is the home a person lives in. Unless they can sell the home where they are now, it’s very difficult for them to buy their next home, whether it’s new construction or any other resale.”
While current homeowners will likely have an easier time selling than they may have in years past, they’ll also benefit from a greater selection of available new home plots if they act sooner, rather than later, Anderson pointed out. “In 2012 versus 2011, we had a wonderful surge in building permits, which is the indicator of new construction sales in the future.” She also noted that interest rates are low and plot availability is high – but won’t remain so for long. “For those people that are considering buying a new construction home, now would be the time to go, because there are beautiful home sites available, but they are limited in number. …We expect a 20 percent increase for each of the next four to five years to catch up to a ‘normal’ market with respect to new households and pent up demand.”
In addition to the marketplace advantages, new homes offer a level of personalization that simply isn’t available with those already built, Anderson contended.
“In terms of functionality, new design is better equipped to handle what I’ll refer to as the modern family. We incorporate flex space in the majority of new construction projects now, because family dynamics are ever-changing. You will find offices/bedrooms incorporated into homes,” she commented. “You’ll find that many people are what we refer to as ‘right-sizing’ – they may be changing to a larger home to incorporate family members that have returned, or to incorporate an extended family scenario, or they may be changing the style of the home from one that has stairs to one of the more universal designs where they can age in place.”
Furthermore, Anderson added, architectural innovation in recent years means that a newly-built house can be designed to maximize both living space and energy efficiency, benefits that can’t be duplicated in older buildings. And, of course, the power to customize every aspect of one’s home – from window light requirements to traffic patterns, to the kitchen layout – is grounded in functionality but also carries with it an emotional appeal that would be difficult to resist.
If a newly-built home is a part of your family’s plans for the future, the most important step, Anderson emphasized, is to identify and partner with an experienced realtor of your choice. “The real estate industry is best supported and properly navigated from within,” she explained. “A realtor can guide you in terms of your financial opportunities … and then selection in terms of the given buyer’s requirements and needs.”
And while different areas of town may hold a certain appeal for new home hopefuls, there is no “right” place to look, the realtor advised. “You can’t really say, ‘you should go here’ or ‘you should go there.’ New construction lends itself to many locations, instead of certain locations, for both condominiums and single homes.” True personalization of the home is best achieved when you explore all the possibilities.
Dana Anderson is the director for the New Homes Division at Semonin Realtors. She can be reached by emailing Danderson@semonin.com.