Once you’ve decided you want to buy a brand-new home rather than a resale, the next step is to choose a community that’s right for you. New communities in Edmonton have been sprouting up for decades. As a new buyer, you’ll get to decide whether you want to build your home in a brand-new community or one that’s a bit more established. Each one has unique advantages and disadvantages, so carefully consider all of your options.
The Infill Dilemma
Naturally, the bustling residential neighbourhoods close to downtown Edmonton are full of houses built many years ago. Some buyers look for opportunities to purchase homes in these areas, tear the old homes down, and build the new home of their dreams. This is a process called infill, and those who choose this path are often extremely limited when it comes to builders and home styles.
It’s rare to have an opportunity to build a home in one of these older, truly established neighbourhoods, so when we talk about whether you want to build in a new or established community, we’re often referring to new communities that are established because they are a few years old.
Certainty vs. Uncertainty
When building a new home, there’s always a bit of uncertainty. However, those who choose to build in established communities are a lot more certain of what they’re getting. All communities have a plan design, but in an established community, you can see more of what that plan looks like in reality. They might already have several homes built so you can see a greater variety of styles. Some of the common spaces like parks and playgrounds will be finished, so you can also see what those look like. Established communities might also have things like walkable schools and shopping centres.
In a new community, these things are left up to the imagination. You can see what the full community will look like when it’s completed through the design plan, but you can’t be 100 percent certain of what it will look like once finished. Fortunately, you’re not taking a big risk when you choose a community built by an experienced planner like Qualico – we are thoughtful in where we choose to build new communities.
Part of building your new home is choosing a lot on which to build it. In a brand-new community, you have plenty of options, and you can even lock in your lot before you lock in your builder. Many of the prime lots – corner lots, pie-shaped lots, and lots that back up into a wooded area – will still be available. Your lot choice can also play a role in what the exterior of your home looks like, so those building in new communities can easily pick a lot that allows them to have the exact exterior look they want.
In established communities, though, your choices are limited. There may be less than 10 available lots, and the lots that are left are likely to be smaller. You may also not be able to get the exterior colour you want because the neighbour already has it (due to community guidelines).
Property values on brand-new homes are a bit tricky. Some lenders won’t fund new construction homes because they feel it’s too risky. In some ways, buying a new home is like buying a new car in that it’s hard to recoup the value if you’re trying to sell after only a year or two. Realizing your home’s value can take several years.
Those building in established communities have a stronger sense of the value of their home. They can also easily see the value of other homes in the community and know they’re getting a good deal. It’s a sure thing.
Those who build early in a brand-new community, are taking on a bit of a risk, but there’s a bigger reward. Property values can greatly increase once the community is finished, so there’s a chance you can make a bigger profit when you sell your home down the road.
The Construction Factor
You’ll have to deal with some construction noise whether you buy in an established community or a new community. However, those building in newer communities may have to deal with the noise for several years while someone in an established community might only have another year or two before the neighbourhood is complete.
The good news is builders tend to build the community in phases. They won’t move on to the next section until the first one is done. If there are only one or two lots left, one of the builders will likely build a spec home on that lot to complete the phase.
All of the new communities around Edmonton are being built near the types of amenities you’d expect to find in the suburbs. For instance, you won’t have to drive far to get to the grocery store, a gym, or even a mall. Commute times from Edmonton’s bedroom communities are shorter than ever.
However, communities also tend to boast about special amenities available to residents. For instance, one community might eventually have a shopping centre within walking distance. Another one might be planning to include a community lodge where you’ll be able to rent sports equipment and reserve a room for a party. In established areas, these types of amenities are likely to be ready and waiting for you. In a brand-new community, that feature may not be available for a few years. It’s up to you to decide whether this is an inconvenience or something worth the wait.
Edmonton is a lovely city with beautiful neighbourhoods, both young and old. Fortunately, you can choose the style that really suits your family and make the most of your community, wherever you choose to call home.