This perspective is provided by a Realtor who has been living in one of the new adult communities in Jackson, N.J. for the past year. This article is drawn from my own personal experiences in addition to those of my neighbors.
1) Price. Although builders are offering unheard of incentives to purchase new, private sellers are now responding even more aggressively. Relatively new homes (under 2 years old) can be purchased at prices significantly under what builders are offering for the same models.
2) Inventory. This goes hand-in-hand with price. There is a great variety of quality homes available.
3) Timing. As the market fluctuated last year, many home buyers got caught between selling and buying, resulting in the ownership of 2 homes. As a result, many of the homes currently on the market have either never been lived in and/or are available for immediate occupancy. A new home from a builder can still take months.
4) On time Closing. This goes hand-in-hand with timing. Many of my neighbors had furniture in storage and spent months in motels or with relatives when the builder failed to deliver their house on their estimated deliver date.
5) No Builder Walkthroughs. Typically, you are provided three walkthrough periods (at months 1, 4, and 11) to provide the builder with your list of things that need to be fixed. Although my builder was very responsive, every little detail in the house has been subcontracted. Resolving a typical "punch list" can mean days of waiting for a "specialist" to arrive (between the hours of x and y). One example: I had a cracked tile, grout issues, and a split in linoleum that required 3 different repairers, all from the same flooring contractor.
6) Minimize Major "Surprises". My examples are somewhat rare and are not the norm, but I have seen at least one of each of the following: Lawn & Sprinkler issues (very common), Poor Grading, Poor house placement on the lot, Sewer lines from house to main line blocked, Plumbing (failure to remove plugs from dishwashers and showers a common mistake), and Hardwood floor issues resulting from improperly cured/sealed concrete slabs.
7) No "Design Center". This will not been seen as a positive by many people who like the idea of making their own choices from a myriad of options. But, with a resale, what you see is what you get. There is much angst when coordinating many details within a house from a bunch of small samples. What you envision from samples is not always the reality of full size.
8) Added Personal Upgrades. Costly and time consuming personal upgrades may already be completed. If your taste matches the taste of the homeowner, you are done and at a fraction of the cost, since the cost of the home will not fully reflect the cost of these upgrades. Some key examples: Stone patios, landscaping, professional painting, and window treatments (if you have never moved into a new home, you can't fully appreciate this item).
9) Meet Your Neighbors. By ringing a few doorbells you can meet your potential new neighbors and learn more about the community.
10) Did I already mention no waiting for subcontractors?