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How to choose between new, used homes [VIDEO]

Posted on Monday, February 9, 2015 at 9:12:22 AM

Jumping into the real estate market these days means you have a wide range of options. Many neighborhoods are ripe for buyers, and you can choose between existing - or "used" - homes and the new construction popping up across the country.

However, the trick is then determining which option is right for you. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of new single-family homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000 units this past December. Compared to November, the rate is up more than 11 percent, while it climbed 8.8 percent over December 2013.

Even with the surge in popularity for new homes, this construction still has its pros and cons. On the one side, they provide instant customization and the knowledge that you are the first to ever live inside. Builders can also offer incentives and upgrades to buyers, depending on the market. Negatives include a cookie-cutter design, reduced character and generic neighborhoods.

On the other hand, used homes have a lot of charm. Plus, you have the flexibility to shop in whatever neighborhood you want. You may also have more opportunity to negotiate. Be wary of existing problems, maintenance concerns and outdate design elements, though.

If you are looking for residential financing and the right home, make sure you weigh your new and used options.