Deciding to buy a new home in Vienna can often leave buyers waiting nine to twelve months, committed to making hundreds of critical last-minute selections from appliances to floor colors (to pick just two), leaving them totally exasperated month after month.
Last year, a few clients bought excellent “almost new” custom homes that were only two, four, and ten years old that included luxury upgrades.
The sellers sold because of job transfers or that the home was simply too big. Best of all for my clients, these “almost new” custom homes were excellent values on prime lots.
Custom Home or Spec Home
You should understand the unique differences between builders when you are starting the process.
- Spec or Production builders
- Semi-Custom builders
- Custom builders
Some production builders in Vienna build only specific designs over and over offering a few exterior options to help make it your own. These are commonly called “spec” homes because they follow a proven design that appeals to customers, and they sells.
The downside is that they may have built this same home so often that it looks like your nearby neighbor’s home, or still uses a 2006 architectural design.
If you get in early enough, you may be able to make tile, cabinet, and flooring choices. These limited selections are typically on the builder’s predetermined list… something like choices on a menu.
There are also semi-custom builders who will work with an architect and build homes that are far better quality than the “spec” or “production” guys. Essentially, they will have a design ready to build but allow you to customize the design prior to construction.
You will pay for those changes and upgrades, but the home will be much more impressive when it is finished.
There are a few custom builders in Vienna who take a totally different approach. They will help design and then build your new home on your lot, a lot that you already own.
This is the most expensive route, but you will be involved in all aspects including highlighting the unique landscaping features of your lot, the architecture and floorplan design, the energy efficiency requirements, and so much more.
Helping clients through one of these projects is exciting since there is a tight workflow and schedule to ensure the project stays on track.
I have seen these projects take eighteen months to two years to complete simply because the buyer underestimated the commitment of time building a custom home takes to complete. So, prepare yourself!
The “almost new” resales
There are opportunities to buy very nice custom homes in Vienna that really aren’t too old. The value for my clients here is that they were able to get highly customized homes without having to wait a year or two.
For example, here are three of those homes in Vienna that were tastefully designed and were on spectacular, sought-after lots.
Click the photos to see more photos…
This four-year-old home was built by Somerville Homes in Vienna. Honestly, it was very impressive to see the attention to detail, classic yet modern architecture and design, and other special touches like heated bathroom floors and function.
This custom home was built by Bukont Homes in Vienna. Although it was more than ten years old, the kitchen and family room featured 10 x 18 wood beams removed from an old barn in western Virginia. Dark hardwood floors, custom front doors, and much more made this a one of a kind home.
This custom home was built by Sekas Homes of Vienna on an amazing lot backing to a Town of Vienna park. Shortly after being completed, the seller moved out of the area because of a job transfer.
Essentially this house was new inside and included a whole house generator, basement bar, and three-car garage.
Don’t overlook homes like these!
It is very important to understand the inventory of homes across the Vienna real estate market. Opportunities like these are more often coming on the market.
The inventory is comprised of homes built by a wide range of builders, so, do not expect them to all be the same level of quality.
What do I look at?
- Doors and windows
- Hardwood floors
- Custom trim work
- Kitchen cabinets, appliances
- All fixtures, tile selections
- Exteriors and landscaping
- Screened porches, patios
Especially for those buyers looking at nicer or luxury homes in Vienna, there are many strategies to use and it is important to remain engaged in the process. Competition for lots, and the high cost of buying an older home to tear down often leaves wishful buyers as the runner-up in a bidding war.
Right now, a client would love to buy an older home in Vienna to build a custom home (if you have one, call me). Like many people, she is ready to move forward quickly.
In this case, let’s look at her timeline… it may take a few months to close, then a few months to design and get permits, and another six to nine months to build.
Yes, that’s a year assuming there are no major snowstorms, hurricanes, or unexpected construction delays.
“Custom Newer” is worth looking at
The Vienna real estate market has remained in strong demand driving up prices on anything built brand new. The forecast for the regional economy is super strong thanks to an expanding workforce in Tysons, Reston, or at Amazon HQ2 in Arlington.
The Vienna community, as a whole, has excellent shopping options, an original restaurant scene, easy access to the 42-mile W&OD Trail, and it’s own microbrewery. Other things that add to the quality of life include parades and the farmers market.
The custom homes which were built at 2016 prices remain an excellent value today. Therefore, these resales really should be on your radar.