New Homes & Vacation Homes – Q & A

Are you considering buying a new home or a vacation home in Texas? Whether you’re looking for a primary residence or a getaway spot, there are some important questions to consider before making the big purchase. We’ve compiled some of the most common questions about purchasing a new home or vacation property in Texas, so read on and start planning your dream home today!

What Are the Benefits of Buying a New Home in Texas?

Buying a newly-constructed property in the Lone Star state has plenty of advantages. For one, you won’t have to worry about any potential repairs needed due to age or wear and tear. You’ll also often be eligible for sizable tax incentives and access to some desirable amenities that older properties may not have. New homes generally have energy-efficient materials and appliances built into the structure, saving you money on utility bills over time.

What Should I Consider When Buying a Vacation Property in Texas?

When it comes to investing in a vacation property, location is key. Be sure to evaluate what recreational activities are available nearby, such as swimming, fishing, golfing, hiking, etc. Additionally, consider what sort of short-term rental market exists in the area—is there steady demand from out-of-towners looking for a place to stay? Lastly, research any applicable zoning regulations to ensure the property meets the legal requirements for use as a vacation home.

What About Financing?

Financing for both new construction and pre-existing properties is available in Texas, but the exact terms and conditions can vary from lender to lender. Shop around and compare rates and terms before signing a loan agreement. It’s also important to note that if you’re financing new construction, the process is often specific to those purchases, so it pays to do your homework ahead of time.

What Are My Closing Costs?

Closing costs typically include an appraisal fee, title search fees, legal fees, survey fees, taxes, and other miscellaneous charges. These expenses can vary greatly depending on the property type and size you purchase. It’s best to consult your real estate agent or financial advisor to estimate closing costs before agreeing.

Can you negotiate the price of new homes?

Negotiating the sales price with a developer can be difficult because they may claim their prices are based on fixed construction costs. But it doesn’t hurt to try.

Experts say builders are more likely to be flexible on price at the beginning and end of a development project. Early on, most developers want to move people in quickly, so the project picks up momentum. Later, developers may be more inclined to accept lower offers when only a few units remain.

If negotiating the price doesn’t work, buyers commonly negotiate for better amenities (upgrade carpet, light fixtures, etc.) or lot location. Experts say a developer will rarely pass up a deal over a couple hundred dollars worth of carpeting, for example.

Should I buy a vacation home?

Today a vacation home can be purchased for investment purposes and enjoyment. And yes, there are tax benefits.

Some people buy a vacation home with the idea of turning it into a permanent retirement home, which puts them ahead on their payments. Another benefit is that the interest and property taxes are tax deductible, which helps to offset the cost of paying for a second home. A vacation home also can be depreciated if you live in it less than 14 days a year.


  •  “Real Estate Investing From A to Z,” William Pivar, Probus Publishing, Chicago; 1993.
  •  “The Ultimate Language of Real Estate,” John Reilly, Dearborn Financial Publishing, Chicago; 1993.

What do you think of a vacation home as an investment?

You can buy a vacation home today for investment purposes and enjoyment. And yes, there are tax benefits.

Some people buy a vacation home to use as a permanent retirement home later, which allows them to get ahead on their payments. Another benefit is that a vacation home’s interest and property taxes are tax-deductible.

Some real estate experts predict that vacation homes will appreciate in value due to rising demand from the aging Baby Boom generation. You also can depreciate the property if you live in the house less than 14 days a year.

You must also consider whether you can afford to carry two mortgages, pay for the extra utilities and maintenance costs, and how this investment fits into your total personal finance picture.

Do builders give financing?

Builders often include financing programs to help move more buyers into a project early on. If it’s a buyer’s market in your area, you can be sure that developers will offer incentives such as low-down-payment financing.

Where can I get a list of home builders?

For a list of home builders, contact the National Association of Home Builders at 201 15th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20005; (202) 822-0200; or your local Building Industry Association office.

Should I hire a home inspector for a new home?

Most experts recommend having a home inspected, new or old. For new homes, ask the builder to provide copies of any inspection reports on the property, architectural plans, surveys and pertinent construction documents for your inspector to review. Your inspector should be a professional home inspector, an engineer, an architect, or a contractor.

If you hire a professional inspector, look for one who belongs to one of the home inspection trade organizations. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge about structures and their various systems and appliances are prerequisites.

Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about $400, but costs increase with the inspection scope.

What are some new-home cautions?

When you buy a resale home, you can learn more about the property and the neighborhood before you buy it than when you buy a new home.

Land to support new-home developments usually is located on the outskirts of town. Potential buyers should ask the developer about future access to public transit, entertainment activities, shopping centers, churches and schools. Find out how far it is to the nearest library, for example.

Local zoning ordinances also should be reviewed. A rather remote area can become a fast-food-chain haven within a few years. If not strictly residential, try to ensure that the neighborhood will not begin sprawling out of control.

What about new versus previously owned?

Although new homes typically have a higher sales price than comparable existing homes, buyers are willing to spend more upfront with an understanding that part of what they are paying for is assured low maintenance costs. A builder’s warranty and brand-new roof, appliances, furnace, and other operating systems that make major repairs unnecessary work together to counteract possible slower appreciation initially.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2023 American Housing Survey suggest that operating costs per house are lowest for brand-new homes, slightly higher for relatively new existing homes, but lower on average for older ones. Measured per square foot of living space, operating costs are consistently higher for progressively older existing homes.

Utility costs are the largest component of operating costs. Energy consumption per square foot depends on the size of the home, insulation, window quality, air leakage, and efficiency of the furnace. Operating costs also include expenditures for both routine maintenance and major repairs.

What are the considerations for buying a new home?

Builders may have a target market in mind for their new-home projects. Some may tout communities as glamorous to upscale urban professionals seeking amenities such as a golf course, hot tubs, and tennis courts. Yet a playground and swimming pool might be central to a project geared toward families, while the next one offers seniors a walking trail and an easy-to-care-for yard.

Do not be tempted to move into a “glamorous” community where you can afford the house but not the lifestyle. In addition, similar-looking new houses often come complete with restrictions imposed by the developer on house color, landscaping, renovations, and anything else a homeowner could do to make their house deviate from the preferred look.

Marketing experts try to appeal to buyers’ tastes by promoting images for their developments. Don’t buy into it. Form your own opinions and only buy a home where you feel comfortable. After all, you’re going to have to live there.

What is the return on new versus previously owned homes?

Buying into a new-home community may seem riskier than purchasing a house in an established neighborhood. Still, any increase in home value depends upon the same factors: quality of the neighborhood, growth in the local housing market and the state of the overall economy.

Where Can I Find More Information?

If you want to learn more about buying a new home, vacation property, or any other type of real estate in Texas, visit our blog or contact our experienced team of real estate professionals for personalized advice and assistance. With their deep knowledge and expertise, they can help you navigate the process and find the perfect home or vacation spot for your needs.