4 Expenses You Might Not Expect When You Buy a Newly Built Home

Two builders review blueprints inside an in-process new build home.

Image source: Getty Images

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Don't get caught off guard.

Key points

  • Many buyers would be thrilled to purchase a new construction home.
  • In addition to a higher purchase price, you might get stuck with these hidden costs, including shelving and landscaping.

Years ago, my husband and I decided to jump on the opportunity to purchase new construction. The home in question was being built from the ground up, so we had a chance to customize it to our needs. It also allowed us to stay in our neighborhood but snag extra square footage and a basement -- something most of the homes nearby don't have.

Now my husband and I knew that buying new construction would mean taking on a higher mortgage. And we suspected -- correctly -- that we'd be looking at higher property taxes as well. But we were shocked at some of the items that didn't end up coming with our new construction property. Here are four surprising costs you might incur if you buy a newly built home.

1. Having to put in window coverings

When my husband and I moved into our home, we were shocked to see that our builders hadn't included any window treatments. It turns out, they weren't required to. But that left us scrambling to purchase temporary shades for privacy, and it then resulted in us spending several thousand dollars on nicer-looking shades and blinds.

Thankfully, we had a decent chunk of money in our savings account earmarked for what we called new home expenses. But we were surprised that window treatments weren't included in our home's purchase price given how expensive it was.

2. Having to swap out your lighting fixtures

Our builders were required to outfit our home with lighting. But the fixtures they chose were, in a word, ugly. Let's put it this way -- they were the sort of fixtures you'd expect to find in a warehouse or rest stop bathroom. And so we had to dip into our savings once again to swap out those fixtures with ones that didn't make us want to shudder.

Obviously, this wasn't an emergency, and we didn't have to rush to replace all of our lighting at once. But it was a pretty notable expense nonetheless.

3. Having to add shelving to your closets and pantry

Our home has multiple closets and a generous-sized pantry. But when we moved in, we saw that our builders had skimped on shelving, leaving us on the hook to purchase more. That wasn't a horrendously large expense since my husband was able to install added shelving himself. But I was disappointed that we were only given two shelves for our pantry when there was clearly room for more.

4. Having to spruce up your landscaping

Our new construction contract required our builders to put down grass seed. They weren't required to do much else. As a result, our lawn left much to be desired, and we had to sink time and money into making it look nicer. 

Know what you're getting into

There are many benefits of buying new construction, but it's important to read your contract carefully so you understand exactly what you're getting. The last thing you want is to pay a premium for a newly built home, only to then face a host of costly items you need to pay for upon moving in.

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