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Blog :: 05-2019

New Construction or a Renovated Home, Which Is Best For You?

Choosing between a newly-built home or a renovated home? Don’t just make lists of pros and cons. Sometimes, the heart wants what it wants – and you just fall in love with a house. Or a village, or a beach. Depending on where you live, one type may have a distinct advantage over the other. We’ve put together a short guide – hopefully, it’ll help your house search head in the right direction.

1. Price

For many years it was typical for new construction to cost more than an older home, but that’s not necessarily true today. With cheaper building materials and efficient production, brand new homes can be built at affordable prices.

Renovated homes sell at premium prices if they’re close to a city center, on the water, or convenient to popular shopping or dining districts. The price of a renovated home will reflect its location and any work that’s been done to restore it. Remember – older homes are expensive to maintain, so any repairs and improvements made by the seller will save you money in the long run.

New homes that are being built as infill in older neighborhoods often command the highest prices – they offer both a great location and new construction features.

2. Location

Location is probably the biggest factor in home-buying decisions. Your brand-new dream house might be miles away from your favorite neighborhood, and you have to prioritize.

Many close-to-the-city neighborhoods are experiencing a renaissance as people move in and fix up older homes. Older neighborhoods are more likely to have mature trees, sidewalks, shops you can walk to, and larger yards. And with shorter commute times, prices are going up.

If you’re looking to buy in a historic area or waterfront property, often the only homes for sale are older, renovated homes.

Source: Rick Harris

If you’re determined to have a brand new house, you’ll have to buy a home in tear-down condition and build new – keeping in mind that this will be an expensive process.

Another source of new construction in older neighborhoods are in-fill projects. Developers buy two or three old homes to tear down and build several homes that are closer together. Lot sizes are usually much smaller than surrounding homes – but they’re ideally located.

3. Floor Plans

New construction homes offer popular features like open-plan kitchens, large master bathrooms, high ceilings, and large closets. If you work with a builder from the beginning, you can choose your interior finishes like countertops, flooring, and cabinetry.

 

Source: The Designory

You’ll often find these features in older homes too, but even a renovated home will have its limits. Master suite additions are common in renovated houses; but not every home can be remodeled to an open plan design. If an open layout is a must-have, it may be easier to find in a new development.

Older homes may not have every modern amenity, but you’ll find traditional features like a formal dining room, a butler’s pantry, a screen porch, or library.

Consider whether these areas can be re-purposed, or opened up to improve the floor plan. If you have your heart set on a certain older neighborhood, look at every listing with an open mind. A quick meeting with an interior designer can help you figure out a home’s potential before you buy.

Source: Big Old Houses

4. Construction:

New homes must meet modern building codes – this includes safer wiring, proper insulation, and ventilation. Some new houses are extremely energy-efficient, but every builder is different. Energy-efficient windows and improved exterior finishes dramatically reduce maintenance. Find out what construction methods are best for your climate, and check with your builder before making a final decision.

Depending on where you live, older homes that have been renovated may or may not be required to meet the newest codes. Upgraded wiring? Finished basement? Ask for specifics and get an inspection before you purchase a renovated home. Heating and cooling systems should definitely be upgraded to modern, high-efficiency equipment.

The upside of buying an older home is superior craftsmanship. Walls may be lathe and plaster; paneling and shelving might be walnut or redwood, and floors typically solid oak. Even mid-century homes are well-built with brick facades and solid wood cabinetry. Exterior features like wood siding and porches add plenty of charm, but they’ll need ongoing maintenance.

So should you buy brand new? Adopt an older home? Think about your desired lifestyle, your family’s needs, and the location that will be the best fit. After that, you just may surprise yourself. 

If you need help choosing, Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty has over 70 highly agents who can guide you through the decision-making process.

 

Luxury Home Trends in Kitchen Design

Today’s luxury kitchens have evolved far beyond show-stopping commercial ranges and statement appliances.  Feature walls are the new stars of kitchen design – showcasing open shelving, handcrafted tile, book-matched stone, or a magnificent view. These carefully-curated display areas are complemented by appliances that are fully integrated into the cabinetry, so they almost disappear into the design. 

Islands Make a Statement:

Islands add a luxury touch when fully clad in a quartz surface material, a rich wood such as walnut, or a highly-figured stone:

Source: Knock Architecture and Design

 

With fewer upper cabinets, kitchen designers are using custom cabinetry walls as a way to fully integrate and conceal storage and appliances, leaving the island and prep areas uncluttered. Finished in beautiful wood, the “hidden kitchen” becomes a feature wall itself:

Source: Pinterest

Custom refrigerator and freezer units can be configured to disappear into drawers, or fit under the counters to preserve the clean lines of a modern kitchen.

 

Feature Walls Set The Stage:

A kitchen’s feature wall is its focal point – and in a modern luxury kitchen, that usually means tile or stone displayed in quantity.

Moody, darker colors are trending this year, and the contrast helps hardware and custom details to really stand out. With open shelving and a steel-trimmed range hood, this deep blue tile creates a stunning feature wall. Antique-inspired pendant lighting adds extra charm over the island:

Source: The Urban Electric Co.

 

A tiled feature wall adds Old-World charm to a kitchen with traditional beams and classic white cabinetry:

Source: Pinterest

 

This modern kitchen exudes high-end glamour with a full-height feature wall and island of Caesarstone. Dark stained cabinetry adds contrast, allowing the gold lighting, barstools and accent strip on the island to stand out. Everything about this kitchen has an air of understated, modern luxury:

 

Hardware Is Like Jewelry:

High-quality hardware adds richness and depth to a kitchen. Today’s luxury hardware trends include rose gold, matte brass, deep bronze, and matte black. These finishes are more difficult to produce and not widely distributed – a rarity that adds an instant aura of luxury to a kitchen.

For a traditional home, refrigerators in a custom color with deluxe gold hardware will display gourmet ingredients and a wine collection with style:

Source: True Appliances

 

Luxury Kitchen Lighting:

Quality lighting adds both function and character to a luxury kitchen. Advancements in lighting design have replaced old-style ceiling spots with bright, efficient, and unobtrusive LEDs. Expect no fewer than three levels of lighting in a high-end kitchen. Task lighting is directed at work areas, so it may be a combination of under-cabinet lighting and pendants over an island. Ambient or general lighting comes from pendants or chandeliers, plus small ceiling spots as needed to keep the room comfortably bright. Accent lighting is added above or below cabinets, or behind glass doors, to add ambiance. Dimmers and remote controls make it easy to adjust all three and set the mood.

Instead of small pendants for island lighting, here the designer has chosen three stylish fixtures with shades as a focal point:

Source: Atlanta Homes

 

A custom marble stove back, seamless marble installed on the walls, and massive marble island gives this Atlanta kitchen a sense of updated luxury. The bespoke range hood and custom display shelves are high-end features that make a traditional kitchen stand out.

 

The Butler’s Pantry Is New Again:

Removing upper cabinets creates an open, spacious feeling – but it also reduces storage. Butler’s pantries are the answer. This classic solution is making a comeback, and it can be the perfect spot for a coffee bar, wine refrigerator, or second dishwasher to keep the kitchen mess out of sight. Custom lighting and high-end finishes make it an extension of the kitchen:

Design: Jeff King and Co.

 

A luxury kitchen in 2019 focuses on the highest quality materials. Natural stone and quartz products are being used as statement pieces over large areas, and rich color or tile patterns inject personality. Hardware and lighting are more important than ever, as they’re truly the jewelry of the kitchen.

 

 

 

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