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Old 06-11-2018, 01:08 PM
 
3,198 posts, read 1,877,424 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NS-GR View Post
Finally, I think that if I were the OP, I would consider two things:
-In my opinion, it is insane to spend $2M for a house in Mass and not buy a new construction. At least, we thought that it is better to choose to buy a new construction. The experience of customizing a house is totally easier than having to deal with old houses.
Too many variables to draw this conclusion, unless OP is has very specific wants/needs, in which case a new build does provide much more design flexibility.

I advise anyone who is buying right now plan to hold for an extended period as we're likely at 'peak pricing' given population size, local job market, and interest rates. Assuming the this, buying new is effectively deferring maintenance to a later date, which depending on the quality of the build might be 30+ years or might be 10.

While most of the $1.5+ mill new builds I've seen use quality products, I've also seen a fair amount use contractor-grade vinyl windows, osb roof sheathing, and price-point shingles while leveraging 'fancy' trim and quarried stone to justify the tag.

In short, new builds only offer an advantage over old if: a specific floor plan is desired, 'move in ready' is a want, AND ... critically ... the builder leverages quality product. If the latter is dropped, the value proposition of a new build is low (IMO).

Last edited by Shrewsburried; 06-11-2018 at 01:30 PM..
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:15 PM
 
Location: New England
2,190 posts, read 1,643,165 times
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I disagree that new build is better. New build doesn't hold its value as well and quality construction is far from guaranteed. I'd rather have the character of an older house.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:20 PM
 
188 posts, read 213,328 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrewsburried View Post
Too many variables to draw this conclusion, unless OP is has very specific wants/needs, in which case a new build does provide much more design flexibility.

I advise anyone who is buying right now plan to hold for an extended period as we're likely at 'peak pricing' given population size, local job market, and interest rates. Assuming the this, buying new is effectively differing maintenance to a later date, which depending on the quality of the build might be 30+ years or might be 10.

While most of the $1.5+ mill new builds I've seen use quality products, I've also seen a fair amount use contractor-grade vinyl windows, osb roof sheathing, and price-point shingles while leveraging 'fancy' trim and quarried stone to justify the tag.

In short, new builds only offer an advantage over old if: a specific floor plan is desired, 'move in ready' is a want, AND ... critically ... the builder leverages quality product. If the latter is dropped, the value proposition of a new build is low (IMO).
Great points! I really agree. At least for us, you captured essentially all the reasons we wanted new: floor plan, "move in ready" and differing maintenance to a later date. Another reason for us was that we liked the idea of buying a house in a new subdivision.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:41 PM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
38,727 posts, read 29,114,146 times
Reputation: 36261
Quote:
Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
I disagree that new build is better. New build doesn't hold its value as well and quality construction is far from guaranteed. I'd rather have the character of an older house.


Me too. Heck, one of the best things about my place is the 80+ year old hardwood floors and moldings.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Needham, MA
7,189 posts, read 10,978,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoliz View Post
And, yes, Facebook has its issues, although I've also found it to be an excellent source of information and of socialization. I've found one of the Newton pages to be extraordinarily helpful in terms of seeking advice, such as about schools, certain activities, and recommendations for various household services.
I see a lot of that on the Needham page as well. If you can overlook the few people complaining about dog poop, people driving too fast, and teardowns taking this town to hell in a hand basket then there's actually a lot of good information on the page.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NS-GR View Post
I am positive, as many posters here have written in the past, that the majority of people choose to live in the
town that they have found the best house.
It's definitely not that simple. If that were the case, everyone would be buying houses in Orange or Athol where you could buy the entire town for $2M.

It's really about people's priorities. Some folks are very keen on a short commute while others are hyper focused on the school system. Of ourse, there are those people who just want the nicest house they can get. I've also come across people who are obsessed with the idea of living in a particular town for the cache of being able to say I live in XYZville. Everyone is different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NS-GR View Post
Finally, I think that if I were the OP, I would consider two things:
-In my opinion, it is insane to spend $2M for a house in Mass and not buy a new construction. At least, we thought that it is better to choose to buy a new construction. The experience of customizing a house is totally easier than having to deal with old houses.
First off, if you can afford a $2M house then you're not insane you're eccentric.

Seriously though, there's nothing insane about spending $2M on a house. "Expensive" is a very relative term. Do you think Tom Brady or Bob Kraft or Abigail Johnson would bat an eye over spending $2M on a house? I think TB12 spent more than that just on the lot to build his house. However, if you're making $150K annually then buying a house for $2M would be insane.

The other thing I would disagree with you on is that buying a new build is not easier. If anything, buying a new build can be quite a bit harder. If you're buying at a stage where you can pick almost every component of the house then choosing everything is like having a second full time job. If you're just picking paint colors and granite that's a different story but I've had clients get into a contract with a builder when it's just a blank lot. They've been able to customize every aspect of the home and that's a lot of work.

Once you're in the house, a new home might be less work than an older home. I guess it depends on how much sleep the subs got before they showed up at the site. I had a friend who bought a new build a few years ago and it had all kinds of things wrong with it. The icemaker for example was hooked up to the hot water instead of the cold. Of course, the refrigerator broke several times because of this before they figured out the problem. This is just one example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrewsburried View Post
While most of the $1.5+ mill new builds I've seen use quality products, I've also seen a fair amount use contractor-grade vinyl windows, osb roof sheathing, and price-point shingles while leveraging 'fancy' trim and quarried stone to justify the tag.
It's hard to tie the material quality of the home to a particular price point. For example, in Needham or Wellesley or Newton $1.5M would be a low end new construction home. So, you're going to get some contractor grade items. It's also going to depend a lot on who the builder is. I had a client looking at a Toll Brothers house a couple years back in Canton and EVERYTHING looked like it was contractor grade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
I disagree that new build is better. New build doesn't hold its value as well and quality construction is far from guaranteed. I'd rather have the character of an older house.
Personally, I would prefer to have a new house. However, I completely agree with you. Buying new is no guarantee of quality. Old houses often do have more charm and character. However, they're also often not as functional for a modern family. They often have hazardous materials in them as well like asbestos and lead paint.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:25 PM
 
188 posts, read 213,328 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePRU View Post
First off, if you can afford a $2M house then you're not insane you're eccentric.

Seriously though, there's nothing insane about spending $2M on a house. "Expensive" is a very relative term. Do you think Tom Brady or Bob Kraft or Abigail Johnson would bat an eye over spending $2M on a house? I think TB12 spent more than that just on the lot to build his house. However, if you're making $150K annually then buying a house for $2M would be insane.
What I wrote was that it is insane to buy an old house in Mass for $2M. I mean I emphasize how important I consider personally is to buy a new house. I agree with you though that spending $2M on a house makes one eccentric.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePRU View Post
The other thing I would disagree with you on is that buying a new build is not easier. If anything, buying a new build can be quite a bit harder. If you're buying at a stage where you can pick almost every component of the house then choosing everything is like having a second full time job. If you're just picking paint colors and granite that's a different story but I've had clients get into a contract with a builder when it's just a blank lot. They've been able to customize every aspect of the home and that's a lot of work.

Once you're in the house, a new home might be less work than an older home. I guess it depends on how much sleep the subs got before they showed up at the site. I had a friend who bought a new build a few years ago and it had all kinds of things wrong with it. The icemaker for example was hooked up to the hot water instead of the cold. Of course, the refrigerator broke several times because of this before they figured out the problem. This is just one example.



It's hard to tie the material quality of the home to a particular price point. For example, in Needham or Wellesley or Newton $1.5M would be a low end new construction home. So, you're going to get some contractor grade items. It's also going to depend a lot on who the builder is. I had a client looking at a Toll Brothers house a couple years back in Canton and EVERYTHING looked like it was contractor grade.



Personally, I would prefer to have a new house. However, I completely agree with you. Buying new is no guarantee of quality. Old houses often do have more charm and character. However, they're also often not as functional for a modern family. They often have hazardous materials in them as well like asbestos and lead paint.
Yes, it is time-consuming to choose every single thing for a new house. I totally agree. But again, I would assume that especially for $2M, you might as well decide to have every detail in the house exactly the way you want it.

You are right that many things can go wrong in a new house. Generally, you have the amazing advantage of the 1-year guarantee and generally this works out well. In fact, the bigger the name of the company (and especially Toll) the better the 1-year process. Not to mention that you can have multiple pre-closure inspections, 30-day guarantee items to be taken care of etc. etc..

If a new house looks "contractor grade", this can be because the owner did not decide to put work in the pre-building process. I did not say that building a house is a carefree process.

One thing that I consider major advantage about the national builders and I think they are excellent at is creating real communities in new subdivisions. I understand that these are not common in New England in general, but it is safe to assume that this is the case in most subdivisions. In fact, this is the main reason these companies are so popular in other areas in US.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:28 PM
 
Location: East Coast
3,932 posts, read 2,528,840 times
Reputation: 6007
Quote:
Originally Posted by NS-GR View Post
I am positive, as many posters here have written in the past, that the majority of people choose to live in the
town that they have found the best house.
I am not at all positive that is the case, and would, on the contrary, be surprised if it were.

I had a list of towns that I liked and after comparing the towns, if it came down to two choices, I'd pick the house I liked best. But the first point of elimination would be the town itself.

Quote:
Medfield, Newton, Wellesley and Dover etc do not resemble each other only if one wants to convince themselves that do not resemble each other. "The political makeup" is quite different? Like what? 60% democrats in Medfield and 65% in Newton? ... the official per capita income is basically the same...most stats are the same. Just look at any engine, including the city-data stats for these towns. The only thing that changes in walkability and this totally depends on the neighborhood essentially.

Most people basically desire a neighborhood that their kids can spend time out safely and make friends and have fun. I agree that this can be difficult in towns with huge lots. However, living in Arlington or Newton does not really guarantee this either. Even within the same town, the neighborhoods and the streets are different. So, I do not understand how people generalize so much.
Actually, I am surprised you really believe this. If you do, so be it. I don't really want to expend the energy attempting to explain why many people would not agree with this, as I suspect it would be a futile exercise. I'll just say that I disagree with your first paragraph. As far as the next paragraph, yes, that is true. But I have somehow managed to make friends with people who live on a different street than I do.


Quote:
Finally, I think that if I were the OP, I would consider two things:
-In my opinion, it is insane to spend $2M for a house in Mass and not buy a new construction. At least, we thought that it is better to choose to buy a new construction. The experience of customizing a house is totally easier than having to deal with old houses.
There are too many different variables to agree with this. It could be true in certain circumstances. But in many circumstances, it is not. It would also depend on whether you really mean "new construction" as in brand spanking new, you are the very first owners, or whether you would include houses that have been built in, say, the last 10-15 years. There are also houses that are technically a hundred years old but have been renovated and updated numerous times and are just as nice as houses I've seen that are new construction, and in many cases, nicer because they have some quaint details that new builders don't bother to put in.

Quote:
-Newton and Brookline schools are totally overrated and overcrowded. Just look at the percentiles of DOE for most of the schools in this area. Newton South, which is considered the best in Newton in the mid-80s for example, meaning that at least 15% of schools are better. Why even bother? There are exceptional students there that would make IVY schools, but this is only because their parents afford tutors etc and they put pressure to the kids. In my opinion, it simply does not worth spending $2M for an old house in a town with stats that look similar to any other town around and whose schools are not really top. Needham has better schools...or it is better to buy a new house in Needham and go to a private school.
This is really a whole other issue, and there are a bunch of threads where the school rankings and what goes into them and how and why students are successful have been discussed and debated ad nauseum. I don't think it's worth re-hashing that here.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:42 PM
 
188 posts, read 213,328 times
Reputation: 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoliz View Post
I am not at all positive that is the case, and would, on the contrary, be surprised if it were.

I had a list of towns that I liked and after comparing the towns, if it came down to two choices, I'd pick the house I liked best. But the first point of elimination would be the town itself.


Actually, I am surprised you really believe this. If you do, so be it. I don't really want to expend the energy attempting to explain why many people would not agree with this, as I suspect it would be a futile exercise. I'll just say that I disagree with your first paragraph. As far as the next paragraph, yes, that is true. But I have somehow managed to make friends with people who live on a different street than I do.



There are too many different variables to agree with this. It could be true in certain circumstances. But in many circumstances, it is not. It would also depend on whether you really mean "new construction" as in brand spanking new, you are the very first owners, or whether you would include houses that have been built in, say, the last 10-15 years. There are also houses that are technically a hundred years old but have been renovated and updated numerous times and are just as nice as houses I've seen that are new construction, and in many cases, nicer because they have some quaint details that new builders don't bother to put in.


This is really a whole other issue, and there are a bunch of threads where the school rankings and what goes into them and how and why students are successful have been discussed and debated ad nauseum. I don't think it's worth re-hashing that here.
OK, you do not seem to like stats, you do not seem to like numbers
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Needham, MA
7,189 posts, read 10,978,981 times
Reputation: 6227
Quote:
Originally Posted by NS-GR View Post
What I wrote was that it is insane to buy an old house in Mass for $2M. I mean I emphasize how important I consider personally is to buy a new house. I agree with you though that spending $2M on a house makes one eccentric.
In all seriousness, I really don't think it's that crazy to spend $2M on a house if you have the income to do so responsibly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NS-GR View Post
Yes, it is time-consuming to choose every single thing for a new house. I totally agree. But again, I would assume that especially for $2M, you might as well decide to have every detail in the house exactly the way you want it.
The perfect house is a fairy tale. No house ever has everything exactly the way the homeowner wants it. Also, a lot of people I've worked with especially people who can afford to spend $2M on a house don't have the time to deal with such things. Many of them hire designers to simplify the process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NS-GR View Post
You are right that many things can go wrong in a new house. Generally, you have the amazing advantage of the 1-year guarantee and generally this works out well. In fact, the bigger the name of the company (and especially Toll) the better the 1-year process. Not to mention that you can have multiple pre-closure inspections, 30-day guarantee items to be taken care of etc. etc..
The warranty is really only as good as the builder who is backing it up. I've heard some horror stories . . .

Toll Bros. definitely gives you a better warranty than any independent builder I've seen up here in MA. A lot of the stuff in their homes is not top quality though IMO although they do manage to put them together correctly the vast majority of the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NS-GR View Post
If a new house looks "contractor grade", this can be because the owner did not decide to put work in the pre-building process. I did not say that building a house is a carefree process.
I'm not sure what you mean by this but a company like Toll Bros. only offers a finite list of upgrades. They don't do any custom work. So, no matter how much work you put into the pre-building process if the highest end shower they offer has a fiberglass pan then you're going to end up with a fiberglass shower pan. If the highest end appliances they offer is Frigidaire then you'll have Frigidaire appliances. The house I'm talking about in Canton had wire rack shelving in all the closets and pretty middle of the road appliances which I thought was pretty ridiculous for one of the most expensive houses on the market in that town at that time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NS-GR View Post
One thing that I consider major advantage about the national builders and I think they are excellent at is creating real communities in new subdivisions. I understand that these are not common in New England in general, but it is safe to assume that this is the case in most subdivisions. In fact, this is the main reason these companies are so popular in other areas in US.
I agree. They definitely put an effort into creating a community rather than just a street with a bunch of houses on it.
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts & Hilton Head, SC
8,398 posts, read 12,707,084 times
Reputation: 6768
There are some people who just have to have new construction. I know several people who are like that. I wouldn't buy a house in a town I didn't want to live in, I just couldn't. I don't care how nice it is.

I don't mind older houses at all. Sometimes they have more character and the landscape is usually mature. As long as the house has been well cared for and updated, I'd prefer it. You usually get more for your money and you have some clues as to what your neighbors would be like.

We bought our current home brand new and there's been some downsides to that. We weren't specifically looking for a new home but I found it by accident.
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