What do you look for when searching for your new home?


Many of my clients start out looking for a newly constructed home. Their thought is a new home is less likely to have issues. Everything is new from the slab through and through to the roof. The home is likely to be better insulated and more energy efficient.  The home should be built up to code (at the time of construction – codes change). Can I argue with this train of thought? 

Let’s side step a brief moment for a little story.  I will give you the very shorten version. There was a contractor who had built the majority of homes in the small town he lived in. However, he was too poor to afford a home of his own. One day a very wealthy investor approached the contractor and asked him to build a grand home, sparing no expense in its construction. The contractor took the job but decided that considering this man more than likely had many such homes, that he would use inferior materials and cut a few corners to speed up completion. He would give the home a grand appearance for the investor’s sake, but pocket his profits in the end. The wealthy investor returned and was impressed with the view. He thanked the crooked contractor and told him the home was actually intended as a gift.  The investor explained that because the contractor couldn’t afford a home of his own, he wished to gift him this home and handed the contractor the keys.

I’ve watched new home construction (it is not always true and it does depend on the builder) and often times these homes are slapped up as fast as the builder can construct them by contractors they’ve hired out. One property I remember well used horribly warped boards in the framing of the home. I mean, I can only imagine the fun this home owner was going to have using a stud finder to hang pictures! When the owners moved in, it was discovered that all the wiring had been done incorrectly. You could turn on the living room light and in fact you were turning on the garage light instead! The dryer vent was not up to code. You heard me right. The builder used a vent that was not up to code at the time of this home’s construction and the vent that was used was a clear fire hazard!  Nope, didn’t realize it until a home inspection revealed this.  In case you were wondering…….no…..I did not represent this family in the purchase of the home and as a side note, if you are considering a new construction, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hire a home inspector to oversee the stages of your home’s construction. Worth the money!

What if in the story I just told you, the contractor knew the home he was building was going to be his?  Would he have spared any expense?  Would he have cut corners? No, he would have been building this home for himself and possibly not even factoring resale value in consideration.  He would be more likely to “over improve” than to cheap out.

628 Catfish Lane is a custom built home under the watchful eye and supervision of the home’s owner. Through each step from the design, the materials selected, to the actual construction, the owner placed forethought and care.

Is energy savings important to you?  This home was constructed with a Galvalume metal roof providing a potential energy savings of 30% -40%. The owner also designed the home to enjoy natural airflow and circulation during our pleasant days. According to WBDG Building Design Guide – program of the Natural Institute of Building Sciences, natural air ventilation design promotes a healthier home and a potential energy savings of 10% or more. The home is also built with the windows facing the opposite direction of the rise and set of the sun.  

Is the design important to you?  Many who prefer newer homes are partial to an open floor plan. Many of the older homes are more compartmentalized. This home was designed with an open floor plan with unrestricted movement between kitchen, living, and dining areas.

 The kitchen was constructed with loads of custom built cabinets designed for smart use of space. Design features a lazy susan and pull out shelving to name a few. As to the pantry, you would be hard pressed to ever complain about room ever again as we are near prepper stage with that size.  The cooktop even features a downdraft vent for ease of cleaning. Push a button and it elevates, push again and it returns flush with the cooktop.

Most people love a large master ensuite. This home owner was no different. The master ensuite was designed with dual sinks and separate vanity area.  Enjoy a soak in the garden tub or you can take a hot shower in your doorless walk in.

  The 3 car garage was engineered for full use of space. No need for a support wall to break up its functionality. There is even additional room to support a work bench or place for hobbies and projects.

Many new homes are built with a manabloc pex panel. Do you know what that is?  Instead of PVC or galvanized pipes, new construction use pex plumbing.  The manabloc is a panel that looks much like your electric panel, with each connection labeled. In short, you have the ability to shut off your water to each location individually, hot and cold, for plumbing repairs. 628 Catfish Lane was built with this convenience in mind.

What about materials and quality?  Is that important to you?  628 Catfish lane was built with custom hickory wood cabinets. Hickory wood is a hard wood resilient to temperature changes and humidity, less likely to dry and splinter, easy to care for.

Let’s circle back around to the Galvalume roof. So, a majority of homes are built with composite roofing. Roof life spans from 15 years to 30 and it’s my understanding that often life expectancy is actually a bit shortened in our climate. Metal roofing has an average life span of about 50. Galvalume boasts a life span reaching 200 years. Again, we are talking about our climate and so the reported span of life is around 100 years give or take a few.

What about flooding? Seems to be a thing here in the Greater Houston area. Did you know Lakeland, the neighborhood Catfish Lane rests in, has a multi lake retention system?  Lake 1 overflows to lake 2, that flows into lake 3, that flows into lake 4 and then back to lake 1. During Harvey, Lakeland sat dry and happy. The owners of 628 Catfish Lane decided to do one better. They built a retention wall. No, this property is not in a flood zone but even if you are not in a flood zone it does not mean you will never flood. So, despite the protection Lakeland provided for potential flood, the owners went a step above.

What about school districts, is that important to you?  628 Catfish Lane is part of the Conroe ISD school district which reports an overall district B rating based on STAAR data. Schools servicing this area are Lamar Elementary with a B rating and distinction for reading and mathematics. Knox Junior High with an A rating and distinction for reading, science, mathematics, and social studies.  College Park High with an A rating and distinction for reading, science, and mathematics.  Oh, and Montgomery Lone Star Jr. College is just a rock’s throw away.  

What about location? This home is tucked away in the trees but just off I-45 with The Woodlands surrounding to the South, West, and North.  All shopping and entertainment needs are nearly in its back yard and if there is a need to commute, a main artery is just a couple of minutes away.

One of the things I find quite often with new home builds is the cost of the HOA. Some of these places charge anywhere between $250 – $1000+ in annual dues. Lakeland has a quarterly fee of around $40.

There are many factors to consider when purchasing a home.  You must determine what items are important to you. Is it design, materials, or location?  Did you consider the quality of construction?  It’s always hard to think of what you can’t see. However, when compiling your list, don’t short yourself by narrowing your search for a newly constructed home. 


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Post Category: Home Marketing, Home Selling, Neighborhoods & Communities

Local : Spring Northeast

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