Existing homes often include attractions such as larger lots and privacy, more character, mature trees and landscaping, proximity to downtown and restaurants and entertainment, an established neighborhood—often with long term residents—and a greater sense of community. This is true of Bend as well, as shown in the preference of many to try to find housing in our downtown area on the west side. The drawback of buying an older or established home is that it may need repairs and updating that can be more expensive than buying new construction, and they are typically smaller in terms of square footage and closet and garage space. Because existing homes are typically in established areas with desirable locations, having easy commuting access to downtown areas, this also drives up the cost of those properties.
In contrast to existing homes and older neighborhoods, new construction is attractive to many buyers because of all the modern amenities offered. Because it’s brand new, buyers don’t have to worry about maintenance with all new electrical and heating systems, new plumbing, modern wiring, new appliances, etc. The drawback of new homes is often location. New construction is typically the outskirts of town, making it more distant from central core areas. The lots are smaller, the immature landscaping makes it feel barren and less private, and due to the high cost of land, the homes are often in less desirable locations like close to railroad lines or higher traffic areas.
Those who are planning on selling their existing homes should consider the items that appeal to buyers and try to make some changes to make their homes more competitive. The most common and inexpensive items are neutralizing paint colors throughout the house and putting fresh coats of paint wherever possible to give a new look, declutter to make homes appear more spacious, replace outdated carpet or floor covering, new windows if they are outdated, clean up the yard and emphasize attractiveness of larger lot size and the mature landscaping.
Real estate professionals often say “location, location, location.” That seems to be very true, as evidenced by our local market. New construction often seems the more attractive choice in terms of larger homes with modern amenities, but it’s important to note that people are not just buying a home, but a neighborhood, so the older and smaller home on a larger lot can be more attractive and a definite advantage to sellers of older homes.