September 8th, 2021 at 11:00 am

interior photo showing new home features like high ceilings and upgraded finishes

A video doorbell is just the beginning

Thinking of buying a brand-new home? You’ll probably get a lot more features for your money than you did, say, 10 years ago.

Formerly called tract homes, but now known as “infill,” such developments are hard to come by, except in regions where lots of open land is still available. If you are able to buy an infill home or, more likely, a “spec home” built on speculation by a contractor or developer, you’re bound to end up living in a house or condo filled with the very latest in technology. From the video doorbell at the front porch to the solar panels on the roof to the electric vehicle charger in the garage, here’s what home buyers want in a brand-new home.

To find out what new home features and amenities you can expect in a newly built residence, we talked to two of our agents who have recently worked with new-home developments. Stephanie Payab leads The Payab Group in our Encino office, while Kaitlin Miller works with alongside her mother on the Melody O’Leary Team, in our Ventura office.

Eco-friendly outside, safety inside

“To be eco-friendly, some new-home builders are using siding materials that never need any kind of maintenance, are fire-retardant, and never need painting,” Stephanie said. “While that may increase the price, there’s value in it for the long term.”

As for those popular video doorbells, buyers want more than just a camera and pretty chime, she said. Builders are responding with all-in-one systems that put control of lights, thermostat, door locks, window shades, and garage door at your fingertips via a detachable wall panel or mobile app. If the new home only has one or a few of those safety features, ask if it is pre-wired so they can be installed later, Kaitlin said.

Hot solar features

Solar panels, which are now required on all newly constructed homes in California, have a lot more to tell homeowners these days. Depending on which model you choose, Stephanie said, an app lets you can see how much energy or kilowatts are generated from each panel. “It’s amazing. People like to watch it, because there is a point where the solar energy you store gets sold back to the utility company.

Looking good indoors

Interior finishes are another thing to look for, Kaitlin said: “New homes back in the day had tile kitchen counters, plus cabinets and everything else needed to be upgraded. Now we’re seeing higher-grade, really nice finishes so that the buyer doesn’t necessarily have to upgrade. For example, you’re probably looking at things like shaker cabinets, granite countertop, good-sized dual vanity bathroom sinks, plus a large walk-in shower.”

Kaitlin also said many new-home buyers are looking for at least three bedrooms, good lighting, and taller ceilings. They also want an outdoor area, whether for a single-family home or condo, especially because of the usually mild southern California.

Buy with new home features or upgrade later?

So should you pay more for a new home that has all the gadgets and gizmos in place, or pay less for a pre-wired model and add what you want later?

“It’s probably in a buyer’s best interest to get all the bells and whistles up front because they can spread out the costs over the life of the loan, rather than pay for additions out of their pockets later,” Stephanie said.

So, it’s up to you. Check out all the features you future new home will have or can be upgraded to. Then get in touch with an agent like Melody or Kaitlin who can not only help you find the new construction in your area, but also be your advocate all the way through escrow. Your future is looking good!

Interested in learning more about new homes? Connect with a New Homes Specialist today.

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