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Considering a Brand-New Home

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You may reach a point where you, or you and your spouse or partner, will think about buying a brand-new home. If so, you'll no doubt be in for some exciting days—and perhaps sleepless nights—ahead.

There are, of course, some definite advantages to buying a brand-new home, as opposed to remodeling the home you have or buying an already constructed home. You can get pretty much whatever type of house you want, and you also can choose where it will be located. You can get a log cabin in the woods a luxury home on a golf course, or a traditional Colonial in a development. When building a new home, you get to call the shots. Let's look at some of the advantages, and possible disadvantages, of moving to a brand-new home.

Getting Exactly What You Want

Money Morsel

If would like some help with home buying and selling, check out The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying and Selling a Home, Third Edition, by Shelley O'Hara and Nancy Warner. It will get you on the right track with home finances and mortgages. If you're getting ready to move, pick up a copy of Moving Without Madness: A Guide to Handling the Stress and Emotions of Moving, by Arlene Alpert.

The home-building industry is licking its collective chops at the prospect of retiring baby boomers, whom builders are anticipating will spend big bucks to get the homes they want—and can afford.

Baby boomers are an affluent group, overall. They're also liable to retire, or semi-retire, earlier than their parents did. And, studies show that while relocating retirees traditionally opted for condos; apartments; or smaller, already constructed homes, many boomers will buck the trend and go for brand-new. And, the building industry is predicting, they'll be willing to spend a lot of money to get the features in a house that they want. Some of the features baby boomers are showing they like are listed as follows:

  • Oversized master suites with matching walk-in closets, and bathrooms with his-and-her sinks, a Jacuzzi tub, and so forth.

  • Large entertainment room. Once the kids have moved out, many people opt to eliminate the traditional family room and go instead for a large room in which to hold both formal and informal gatherings.

  • Home office. As the way we work changes, many people are making home offices a priority. Many baby boomers say they'll only partially retire, and continue working on a limited basis from home.

  • Exercise room. Many people would rather work out at home than go to a gym, making in-home gyms or exercise rooms popular options.

  • Small guest bedroom for visiting family. It's not that boomers don't want their kids and grandkids to visit, it's just that they don't want the guest rooms to detract from the size of the more-used rooms.

  • Good-sized homes on small lots. This is a popular trend in the building industry. The focus is on the home, not the yard.

Houses with these features frequently are built in a country club-style setting, with golf, tennis, swimming, and other activities available. That setting is becoming increasingly popular but definitely is not for everyone. Perhaps you'd rather have a house in the woods or on the shore of a lake. Buying a brand-new house gives you the option of expressing your own lifestyle preferences.

Leaving Your Home and Neighborhood

If you decide to buy a new home, you'll leave behind the home in which you've been living, and along with it, your neighborhood.

Moving from one home to another is stressful, there's no question about it. Even if you're moving because you want to, relocating from one home to another is ranked right up there on the stress meter with losing a job or having a baby.

While the need to sort out, clean out, and pack a houseful of long-accumulated possessions might be the obvious reason for stress, don't overlook the emotional and psychological aspects. It's difficult to leave a home in which you've raised kids or celebrated holidays. Maybe you're moving from the home you've lived in since you were married. And you might be leaving a neighborhood that's been a source of support and friendship to you over the years.

We tend to think sometimes that close neighborhoods are a notion that went out of style with Ozzie and Harriet. Neighborhoods, however, are alive and thriving all over the country, in cities and suburbs, alike.

Many people build very close, family-like relationships with their neighbors. If you're going for the new home, don't underestimate the effect that leaving your 'hood might produce.

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More on: Family Finances

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance in Your 40s and 50s © 2002 by Sarah Young Fisher and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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