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Home Our Story BLOG: The Story S2 Ep4_Pre-existing Homes vs. New Homes with Hosts Chelsi Frazier & Whitney Pryor

S2 Ep4_Pre-existing Homes vs. New Homes with Hosts Chelsi Frazier & Whitney Pryor

Friday February 26, 2021

For most people, the home buying journey begins with weighing the pros and cons of buying a pre-owned home vs buying new. On this episode we hear from our very own co-host, Whitney Pryor, as she divulges her personal experience with buying a pre-existing home, and then later, deciding on a new build.  Listen in as Whitney gives us lots of food for thought and shares things our listeners might not have ever considered when making this big decision.

S2 Ep4_Pre-existing Homes vs. New Homes with Hosts Chelsi Frazier & Whitney Pryor

S2 Ep4_Pre-existing Homes vs. New Homes (Whitney Pryor).mp3

Intro: [00:00:03] Welcome Home, a podcast brought to you by John Houston Custom Homes. Join hosts, Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor, as they walk you through the exciting adventure of your home buying and building journey.

Whitney Pryor: [00:00:18] Hello, listeners, thanks for joining us on another episode of the Welcome Home podcast. How are you doing today, Chelsi?

Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:25] I'm doing very well, thank you so much.

Whitney Pryor: [00:00:28] Awesome! I will jump right into it. Who do we have on this episode of the Welcome Home Podcast?

Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:37] I love the question we always start with. Our guest today is none other than my co-host, Whitney Pryor. Welcome!

Whitney Pryor: [00:00:46] TA-DA!

Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:46] We all know and love Whitney. She helps guide us and lead us through all things home buying, but today she's in the hot seat and we're going to interview her. We're going to interview you about your experience 2 years ago, purchasing a pre-existing home vs. at the end of 2020, purchasing a brand new home. We're going to talk about that experience and the pros and the cons. People always wonder when they buy a home, okay, do I buy one already built with character and what are the good things about that vs buying brand new? I'm just going to ask you all the hard questions, we're going to get inside your brain and work through it all.

Whitney Pryor: [00:01:32] Yeah, that sounds awesome! I'm excited, I've been on both sides of it now, so I feel like I have a lot to talk about. If someone else is in the same position I was in or have been in, I can kind of see both sides of it. I hope to help someone make their decision.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:01:50] Yes, because there's just so much that goes into each one, it's so different. Two years ago, you bought a home in the historic area of Waxahachie. I've seen it, it's beautiful and I love it. Tell us about that home. Then this past year, you purchased a new home in Buffalo Ridge in Waxahachie. It's a new development over near the movie theater. Tell us about your pre-existing home first and then what caused you to want to change to a new home.

Whitney Pryor: [00:02:27] Sure! A couple of years ago, we purchased a home in the historic area of Waxahachie on University Street. It was a beautiful Craftsman Style home, huge pecan trees, 1/3 acre lot, no HOA and every home had character. It was beautiful. I fell in love immediately with the lot, the giant trees, the shade, the character of the home and a giant backyard patio area.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:03:04] A big, beautiful porch.

Whitney Pryor: [00:03:05] Yes, big beautiful porch. We moved into that home and we absolutely love it. We still own that home and plan to have it for many years, but you don't factor in some things whenever you move into a new home.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:03:22] You can't live in it and see if you like it.

Whitney Pryor: [00:03:26] Yeah, especially because that home was priced right, so we really wanted to jump on it. It was our first time buying a home. We are first time home buyers. We really wanted to jump on it because we loved it. It was in the school district that we wanted our daughter to be in. The price was right. it was the right school zone and it was a beautiful home. We jumped on it having viewed it for 20 minutes one time. You move in and then you kind of get used to everything in the home. With it being an older home, you have to love and appreciate the character that every home has, especially when it's older, when it's 100 years old. We certainly do appreciate and love every crack, every squeak and every door that doesn't shut right. It just adds character to the home. We love the character of the home for sure. There's things that you might not realize whenever you move in or things that you just can't live with. There are certainly some of those things, too, in the home. Back in the day, people did not own a lot of clothes and so there is very little closet space in the home, which is fine. You make do, you figure out furniture, armoires and things like that to overcome that. Another one is the bathroom space. Bathrooms were very, very small 100 years ago. We were having to really live in that space. We had to make do with what features and amenities that home offered vs it really conforming to our modern way of living. We decided to buy a new home and be able to renovate the old home, so that's kind of what we're in the process of doing now.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:30] Gotcha!

Whitney Pryor: [00:05:31] With that, there's a lot of differences between the old and the new for sure.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:36] That makes total sense. I feel like character is one of those Southern ways of saying, "Bless your Heart." It's a really nice way of saying it's not great, but it's got a lot of great character.

Whitney Pryor: [00:05:50] It's got charm, it's quaint.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:51] Yes, we all know exactly what you mean. While we all love seeing those houses and doing the tours, they're beautiful, I've seen your house and I absolutely love it, I can totally understand what you mean when you say our modern way of living. We just don't live the way we did 100 years ago.

Whitney Pryor: [00:06:10] We definitely don't. There are no closets in that house, which is fine if you want to buy a lot of furniture pieces and kind of have all of your storage out on display for everyone to see. I am a little bit more Modern, so I don't like having all my stuff out for everyone to see, having to buy hutches, China cabinets and things like that. It's a requirement of owning an old home for sure. The new house is definitely more fit for the way we live now.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:49] It's very different, right?

Whitney Pryor: [00:06:50] It is very different.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:51] It is 1-story vs 2-story?

Whitney Pryor: [00:06:55] Yes. For us, we have one child and she didn't love going up stairs by herself in this old home that makes lots of noises. She's younger, so she was basically living downstairs with us and using our bathroom. We had 3 people getting ready in this tiny bathroom 24/7. We all have to get ready at the same time in the morning. The upstairs was barely used in our old house.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:07:21] I think you lasted longer than I would have actually. You held out for a good amount of time!

Whitney Pryor: [00:07:26] Yep, I didn't even have a spot to put my makeup on in the morning because there were other people getting ready. I made a makeshift vanity to get ready in the morning. There's just little quirks with that house. Our new house is 1-story, that was a must. She has her own bathroom that she actually uses now because we're all on one story. I have my own vanity to actually put my makeup on in the house. The bathrooms are much larger.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:00] You each have your own sink.

Whitney Pryor: [00:08:01] We each have our own sinks. I don't have to worry about what the husband's doing over on his side, how he is making it dirty.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:10] Yea, clean up your mess!

Whitney Pryor: [00:08:11] Yes, he can clean up after himself. With the new house, the biggest difference in space, is really the closet space. We definitely take those things for granted. I think whenever you're trying to choose between a pre-existing and a new home, take into account that closet space. I've noticed even with homes that I've rented in the past, that the newer the home, the bigger that closet gets. The master closet in particular, and even the secondary rooms, the closets are getting bigger and bigger. It's really important because we have more than 5 outfits. We have a lot of clothes and shoes, so we need more space. We take up the whole closet and give our husbands no room whatsoever. They can have under the bed or something, I don't know. I don't care where they put their clothes, it's just not going in the closet ,or we make a closet big enough for both of us, which I guess is fair. The biggest thing was definitely storage, even pantry space. I think in terms of a lot of people have 2 working family members. Back in the day, it might have been 2 working family member and 1 stayed at home to take care of the kids. Now we've got 2 parents going to work. I feel like now people are buying in bulk. We see more people shopping at Costco, Sam's Club or buying things in bulk if they can, because they are making less shopping trips. They don't have the time to go to the grocery store every other day. They're buying for once a week and they need space for all of their stuff to do that, because time is of the essence now.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:10:04] Right, that makes total sense.

Whitney Pryor: [00:10:04] I think closet spaces just need to be bigger now. Another thing is garage space. With our old home on University, there was no garage, so there was really no space to store your lawn mower, workout stuff and holiday things. That's another big one with the new homes. Most new homes will have a 2-car garage and then you have the option to even add a 3-car garage. Especially in Texas with no basements, the garage is an important part of our home. We use it for storage. We use it as sometimes as a second living space. We use it for our second refrigerator or deepfreeze. If we're hunters, we've got the deep freeze for all the meat. That's another important part of having a new home, the included garage space. I even get people that call in, especially from the Midwest or the Northern parts of the United States that ask, " what, why don't you guys have basements?" I've lived up North for work for a couple of years and all the homes have basements. It is so nice to have a basement, but if you want the answer, the answer is that our soils in Texas shift a lot. We have kind of shifty soils, so it's not the best idea to build a basement. There are some homes that have have basements in Texas. It's just not very common because with the soil shifting, the basement would quickly become cracked or need repairs. It's not ideal to build a basement.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:11:50] Okay, what were some differences you saw in the purchasing process? What's different between when you get ready to buy or make an offer? What's different between pre-existing vs. new? Is it different?

Whitney Pryor: [00:12:04] Yeah, I can tell you the differences, starting with the appraisal process. Whenever I bought this new home, I never even heard about the appraisal process and wasn't even really a part of that. That was just a part of the process that was happening in the background while I was getting all my mortgage paperwork ready, but nothing that I ever heard about. Also with it being a new home, I didn't have a third party inspection. You're welcome to as a new home buyer. Some people will. Some people won't. It's really up to the purchaser. I did not have that the third party inspection. With the older home, I definitely had a third party inspection because the home was built 100 years ago. I needed to know whether I was going to make an offer on that home or not. I think the inspection would have been really the deal breaker to let me know if there's major issues with the home or not. That was an added kind of stress point in the buying process. Is it going to come back with anything?

Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:11] I love it, but I can't buy it if I'm going to have to repair the foundation or the roof.

Whitney Pryor: [00:13:16] Exactly, exactly. With the appraisal process, I had no idea that was also an added stress point with buying a pre-existing home. The appraiser came back and talked to us about, "okay, we've seen existing termite damage and it doesn't look like there's any termites there now, but we're going to double check and make sure. Also, you've got these cracks above these doors and that could be foundation problems, so you need to do another foundation check to make sure that this foundation is good." We ran into little problems that only happen with a pre-existing home and years or age of the home that you don't have with a new home. With the new home, whenever we put in the offer there, we never even heard from the appraiser or any issues from the appraiser, from our mortgage company. That is one less stress point that you don't have to deal with when you're buying a new home. You don't have to worry about whether the home is going to appraise or not and having issues that need to be fixed from that. Another thing that I think is different with buying a new home vs buying a pre- existing home, is the insurance costs. I was really shocked by that.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:14:38] Okay.

Whitney Pryor: [00:14:41] The new home costs way less to insure than the old home, which makes sense, but I just never thought of it.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:14:49] I would have thought it would be opposite.

Whitney Pryor: [00:14:51] Yeah, it costs more to insure the old home, because I guess there's more risk involved with electrical. The electrical wiring was from 100 hundred years ago. It's not up to code of what we would build the homes with today.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:15:12] Right.

Whitney Pryor: [00:15:13] Because of that, they have to charge more for the insurance premiums. I think the insurance cost was about maybe $500 or $600 more per year on the pre-existing home than the new home. Because the new homes are built to the current and standard code enforcement of home-building, then they're able to charge less.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:15:39] There's less risk.

Whitney Pryor: [00:15:40] Less risk, yeah.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:15:42] Did you have a lot of competition on offers on your new home vs. when you were buying?

Whitney Pryor: [00:15:47] That is interesting, I'm glad you brought that up. With the new home, we were able to choose one that wasn't quite complete. There wasn't as much, especially in this market. We've seen it. There's a lot of demand for homes. We're seeing pre-existing and new. We're hearing from people that are putting an offer on a home who are one of 15 or 20 offers. It's disheartening because it's like the fifth home they've put an offer in on and they just keep getting rejected. That is so hard and stressful to go through. With a new home, if you have a little bit of a time frame, you don't have to be in right away, you have 3 or 4 months, then there's a lot more inventory on the market with new homes. You can say, "you know what, I don't have to move in right now. I could move in in 3 months." There's more selection and there's less competition with putting in offers on those homes that aren't move-in ready. You're able to actually take your time, choose a home that you like and know that there's not going to be 15 people trying to buy the same home as you.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:03] Right.

Whitney Pryor: [00:17:03] That makes it way less stressful in a market like this where the demand is just so crazy right now. If you have a little bit of time, then look for a home that might be done in a couple of months and start a little bit further out. That way, you're not dealing with the people that are looking for move-in ready home.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:24] Also, you won't be in a bidding war with 15 to 20 other people on this one house when you're buying new, right?

Whitney Pryor: [00:17:29] Exactly. If you're buying a new home and you put in an offer for full price, a lot of times on the existing market, even a full price offer gets rejected because someone says, "I will pay 10 thousand more than that person." You get into this giant bidding war, while with new home if you put in a full price offer, we're just going to accept it. You don't have to worry about being put in a bidding war and spending more money on a home that isn't appraising for that value. You really get into that with pre-existing. The home is worth $250,000.00, but when you get into a bidding war, you might spend 260k or 270K. You have to come out of pocket for that amount, the mortgage company won't lend that to you.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:18:17] Okay, let's talk about the resale value over time.

Whitney Pryor: [00:18:20] Yeah, definitely. Whenever you're looking for a new home vs. pre- existing home, one thing that you might not consider is the neighborhood and the surrounding area of the home, not just the home itself. With a new home, if you move into a neighborhood or into a brand new home, the whole neighborhood is brand new. The value of that home is more likely to increase than if you moved into a pre-existing home that was 10 years old. Maybe the rest of the neighborhood might be on the decline, as far as upkeep of the home, or maybe the fencing is starting to come down. We've all seen that neighborhood where the fence needs to be stained, there's a section missing or something like that. It doesn't make the neighborhood look appealing. We all want the value of our homes to raise, to increase over time vs decrease. You are more likely to have a home that the value will increase over time if you're in a brand new neighborhood vs a neighborhood that's already 10 years old, that might be on the decline. It's definitely something to consider. Most new communities will have an HOA that help maintain that value of your home as well. That's something also to consider, is whether or not there's an HOA that helps keep that value of your home up and always increasing. Yeah, definitely. With an old home, you're kind of at the mercy of what the surrounding neighborhood looks like around your home.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:00] What was your electricity bill like compared to what it is now? You want to tell us? Can you tell us?

Whitney Pryor: [00:20:04] Yes, I will divulge.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:04] I mean, we don't need specific numbers, but was it better or worse?

Whitney Pryor: [00:20:04] Oh, my goodness, so new home definitely has amazing energy efficiency. The old house we were in was 100 years old and probably in August was our highest electricity bill, probably topping out at about $375.00 For one month of electricity.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:37] Wow! We'll check back with you this August, but I think it is going to be less.

Whitney Pryor: [00:20:39] Yea, I know and that was a good rate too, 6 or 7 cents, which is a good rate in there. Now, I think we're at maybe $90.00 a month.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:54] Oh my gosh.

Whitney Pryor: [00:20:55] Yeah, and the square footage is almost the same. I think square footage is about the same in the home, so that's a big difference.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:21:03] Which is another thing that's crazy. You can have the same amount of space, but just in the way its design can make it feel so different.

Whitney Pryor: [00:21:13] Yes, my new house, the brand new home, looks smaller almost because the other home was a 2-story home. The areas that we use are so big compared to the old homes. We had a lot of wasted space in the older home. I think you'll see that with a lot of pre-existing homes, that they weren't really set up for the way families interact with each other today. I mean, I don't know about you, but at Thanksgiving I am always in the kitchen with my mom talking to her and helping her cook. Everyone just kind of gathers wherever mom is and mom tends to be in the kitchen. That's how we live, so it's so nice having the kitchen open up to the living area because that's where we live. We only go to our bedrooms to sleep at night. We're not in there hanging out with the Fam Bam, you know?

Chelsi Frazier: [00:22:12] Yeah, exactly! I know you're still new in your house, but knowing you and knowing your style, have you thought about things in the house that you already want to change or make more your style or "update"? I know it's brand new, but what would you change or what are your thoughts on updating a new house?

Whitney Pryor: [00:22:30] Yeah, definitely. I think with any new house once you move in, you still want to put your taste or your touch in the new home. It's really made to just kind of fit most people's desires and the trends of the time.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:22:47] We're all going to like gray and beige, agreeable gray.

Whitney Pryor: [00:22:52] Yes, exactly, that's the color, but we all want to add that flare of our personality to it. Of course, I've been in the home for just over a month and there's already things that I've wanted to change or have changed out. That brings up a good point, because in our new home, there's little things that we want to do, like change out the pendant light above the kitchen counter. We want to add some really pretty pendants that are like showstoppers and that might cost me $200.00 To $400.00 to change those out. With the old house, there were renovations that we wanted to do, but we were looking at full kitchen remodel and that's going to run us $10,000.00 to $20,000.00. When you're looking at pre-existing vs new home, those updates or remodels that you want to do with the pre-existing home, you're typically looking at a kitchen remodel or a bathroom remodel and it doesn't come cheaply. Those things run you several thousand dollars. Whereas with the new home, I'm just looking at changing out some light fixtures to make them my own or maybe one day I'd like to get a different type of carpet. Those things are going to cost me hundreds of dollars instead of thousands of dollars, way less. I've already got everything I need in the new home, brand new AC, new roof and all the things we don't love to spend money on whenever we have to remodel.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:24:27] I'm coming over and complimenting your roof.

Whitney Pryor: [00:24:29] Yeah, exactly. On the old house, we had to get the foundation fixed. I was like man, no one is going to walk in this house and be like, "wow, I really love this foundation you've got!" However, that light fixture above the kitchen counter is going to get some comments for sure.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:24:47] For sure, yea! Have you tackled any landscaping? What are some comparisons there?

Whitney Pryor: [00:24:53] Yeah, that's actually funny that you ask that because with the new house, you get your sprinkler system, which is super nice. You don't have to move around a water hose every 30 minutes in the summer or buy the tractor that moves on the water hose.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:25:12] You're not going to be spending hours raking leaves anymore.

Whitney Pryor: [00:25:16] Oh, my gosh, yes! The old house had these beautiful pecan trees, but let me tell you, in the fall when those leaves drop, it is serious business. The street sweeper for the city comes every single day and sweeps the street just so that you can see the street.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:25:34] Wow!

Whitney Pryor: [00:25:34] That's how crazy it is on on those beautiful historic homes that have these giant trees. They produce a crazy amount of leaves. It really is a whole weekend job to get those leaves up and it's several months of doing it. It's serious business with the leaves. With a new home, you've got the the new trees that don't produce a lot of leaves.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:25:56] They are now really big yet, but they will get there.

Whitney Pryor: [00:25:58] Yeah, they'll get there, exactly. Your landscaping is brand new. Something that I don't know if anyone really thinks about until they owned both the pre-existing and a new home, is with a pre-existing home, you've got established roots and an established landscaping. If you want to change that or add to it, it can be difficult sometimes because those roots are stubborn. It might not even be something that you see above ground, you go to dig and you're like, "where did this old tree come from?" There might be a stump under the ground that you didn't realize was there and then you can't plant whatever you wanted to. Those established roots can really get in the way of planting new landscaping , in your pre-existing house. With a new home, it's all brand new. It's much easier to deal with landscaping in a new house. You've got your sprinkler systems that are there to water whatever you put in, which is a great in Texas. It even has the rain sensors so they won't go off whenever it's raining outside, which is great. It is much easier to plant and landscape in a new house than it is in an older established house that has established vegetation there.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:27:22] What would you say were the the biggest costs associated with purchasing your pre-existing home?

Whitney Pryor: [00:27:30] I feel like the the big things that people have to watch for, like the "Big 3", is your HVAC system, which is your heating and air, your roof and your foundation. With a pre-existing home, you might be dealing with an older HVAC unit that might break 2 days after you move in, or it might last for 10 more years. The same for the roof, you don't know how many hailstorms your roof has been through or how many years old, how much where it has gotten over the years, tree branches that scrape the shingles. There's just a lot of factors that go into a roof. Especially in Texas, we get hailstorms every year. That can put some some wear on your roof, so making sure you have a newer roof system, especially with those architectural shingles that we put on the new homes, is a really big advantage. They are made to withstand some of that wear and tear that we usually get. Another one is the foundation. On a pre-existing home, you're either looking at a pier and beam foundation or an older slab foundation that might not have the the post tensioned cables in the foundation. Those things can cause your foundation to either crack or become out of alignment, which of course can cause all sorts of cracks in the drywall, door's not shutting and all those wonderful things that we get with older homes. With a new home, you've got not only a new foundation, but is a post tensioned slab, which means that there are cables inside of that concrete. They pour the concrete over these cables. If you ever feel like you're having issues with your foundation or there's a crack or something, you can have an engineer come out and they'll do the testing. They'll determine whether there is a is a crack or not, and they'll actually pull the cables. They're hidden in the foundation, but they'll pull those cables tight and it tightens up your foundation.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:29:45] Oh wow!

Whitney Pryor: [00:29:46] This causes a lot of the problems to go away, so that's something that is small, you don't see that in the new home. That's not something that's on display, but is really important with the soils that we get in Texas to have. These shifty soils again, man, but those are the "Big 3". HVAC, roof and foundation. You have peace of mind knowing with a new home, that those things are brand new and they're under warranty. If anything were to ever go wrong, then you would have that warranty to back you up for the first couple of years.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:30:23] Well, you never cease to amaze me with your breadth of knowledge, post tension engine cables and all of the things.

Whitney Pryor: [00:30:29] The caveat, my husband is a builder, so I get to hear about it all the time.

Chelsi Frazier: [00:30:34] Yeah, true, but you would listen. You retain the knowledge and that there's a difference between the two of us!

Whitney Pryor and Chelsi Frazier: [00:30:42] Sorry Jake!

Chelsi Frazier: [00:30:43] Okay, well thank you so much. This was very eye opening. You're making me want to buy a new house.

Whitney Pryor: [00:30:50] Definitely, come join the crowd!

Chelsi Frazier: [00:30:53] I wish I could. Thank you so much and thank you for offering your insight into pre-existing vs. new home.

Whitney Pryor: [00:31:00] Yeah, no problem! If you guys want to see more or find out more about the homes that we do have on the market, feel free to visit our description. We'll post a link to our website. You can also visit us on the social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. You can reach out to us at866-251-0910 or email us at

Whitney Pryor and Chelsi Frazier: [00:31:26] Welcome Home.

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