Flat Fee MLS Listings in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana,
Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington

Posts Tagged ‘new homes’

New Home Construction – To upgrade or not to upgrade?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

If you have ever purchased a new home from a builder, you have gone through the option period of selecting your upgrades with a “design consultant”. The first thing you need to understand is that this individual’s job is to sell you on certain features/upgrades. They are not there to help your return on investment in the short term or long run. They are there for a reason, employed by the builder to help the builder’s bottom line.

As a buyer, be realistic in your purchase. This is the single best piece of advice for any new home buyer. A few examples: (For ease of discussion purposes – The example only considers entry level tract homes)

  • Granite slab kitchen counters are not needed in a brand new $120,000 home in Queen Creek, Arizona. You will rarely if ever return dollar for dollar on this investment at this price point.
  • Lot upgrades – All lots are not equal in value. However, lot premiums in the starter home price points rarely yield large returns for buyers. Watch our for large corner lot upgrades.
  • Flooring – Tile over Vinyl is a matter of preference and I can understand the desire to upgrade to tile, regardless of the property. However, watch out for ultra carpet/pad upgrades on entry level properties.

Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by not opting for certain necessities. For example, while every room may not need a ceiling fan, phone jack, etc.. pre-wiring the rooms for this is not a bad idea. Panel doors throughout the home can be beneficial, including a slightly upgraded front door. Simply use common sense and think things through before taking advice from the “design consultant”. Remember, there are certain things you can do yourself through local contractors for cheaper than the builder will offer. (auto garage opener installation and blinds, to name a few)

Las Vegas Cluster Homes

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, January 25th, 2008

If you have ever driven through Southwest Las Vegas, you have seen homes that appear to be stacked on top of each other, each close enough to the other so that you can reach outside your upstairs window and high five your neighbor. If you’re not accustomed to this style of development, you might not understand what the original intent or idea was from the developer. Astoria, Richmond American, Ryland, etc…. all made a killing by offering cluster style housing in the Las Vegas area between 2003-2005. The idea from the builder was to offer affordable single family detached housing to accommodate the nearly 10,000 people moving to the Las Vegas Valley each month.

The problem? What seemed to be a reasonable idea at one time got out of hand. As land auctions began to yield absurd prices for developers, many more builders turned to cluster housing to maximize as many units as possible on a small parcel of land. The end result – thousands of cluster homes throughout Southwest and Northwest Las Vegas at absurdly high prices. The original target market whom cluster style housing was intented to appeal to was now priced out.

As of today, many of these cluster homes are returning to 2003-2004 values. Triana, which is a cluster development in Southern Highlands peaked in 2005 at about 340k-350k for 1850 sq ft models. Today, those same homes are in the 210k-225k range. This is in comparison to the original builder asking price of around $190k in 2003, when the homes were originally constructed.