New Homes vs Used Homes

Are you experiencing joy gap?

What exactly is “joy gap”? Joy gap is the difference in what your are expecting to feel concerning an event and what you actually feel once that event has occurred.
Whenever you are considering a move, whether it’s across town or across the country, there is that excitement/anticipation of setting up a new home in a new location. Of course, there is some apprehension, but for most folks the opportunity to start with a “clean slate” is exciting.
So now, you are faced with the decision – do I buy new or used? Or if your timeline allows – do you build your new home from the ground up?

Used Homes – Pros and Cons

Usually in established neighborhoods
Quick contract to close time frame (if the house is empty)
More inventory of homes on the market to choose from

Did the homeowner disclose a true history of the home to the Realtor?
Age of major appliances
How reputable was the builder of the home?
Were past repairs done by reputable contractors?
What sort of pesticides were used outside and inside the home?
How energy efficient are the appliances, windows, and insulation?
Has the home been pre-treated for termites?
What events – sick babies, new puppies, etc are deep-soaked into the carpets and paddings?
Older neighborhoods rarely have amenities

New Home – Pros and Cons

All new appliances
Up-to-date room layout: no tiny bathrooms or closets
Energy efficient appliances and insulation
New paint
New roof
First homeowner
Up-to-date neighborhood amenities

Neighborhood may still be under construction, and construction vehicles are coming and going
Home may not be ready for immediate move-in
Homes may be slightly higher in price

The fact is, we have never know of someone moving into a used home who doesn’t do a deep clean and paint the interior before moving in. We’ve heard stories of a “new” roof being installed over the old. The underlying wood never checked. The homeowners can’t understand why they have leaks with a “new” roof. Or a hot water heater giving up the ghost two years after moving in.

There is a definite joy gap. Tim Costello of BDX explained at the recent International Builders Show that there is at least a 20% difference in the happiness of home buyers based on whether they bought a new home or a used one.
As Tim points out, used home buyers always move in with a “to-do” list. New home buyers only have “ta-da”. Used home buyers spend their weekends at Home Depot, new home buyers spend their time ….. however they want.

Core Homes has homes available at every stage of construction – to build from scratch to move-in-ready. Let us help you find one that will make you say, “TA-DA!”



Core Home Blog divider image




How to Increase Your Home’s Value


In order to get top dollar when you sell, you need to do everything you can to make it stand out from the competition. If you’re wondering how to increase your home value, these selling tips will help you get started.
Paint Or Replace Your DoorsChattanooga builder Core Homes Marigold house plan entry of floor plan
Paint is one of the quickest and most inexpensive ways to update the look of your home both inside and out. And your front door is like a big welcome sign to potential buyers, so it’s worth taking the time to make sure it looks its best. If your door is looking a little worse for wear, consider giving it a fresh coat of paint in a trendy 2023 color. Upgrading your front door has an average return on investment of 74.9%.
Your garage doors should also be in good condition and should coordinate with the style of your home. If they aren’t, consider replacing them. The average ROI of new garage doors is a staggering 97.5%!
Add or Update Outdoor Lighting
Good outdoor lighting can make a huge difference in how your home looks, both day and night. It’s not just about curb appeal either. Outdoor lighting can also play a role in home security. If you don’t have outdoor lighting, now is the time to add it. And if you do, make sure it’s in good working order and up-to-date with the latest lighting trends.
Invest in Landscaping
A well-groomed lawn and some beautiful flowers can make a world of difference when it comes to curb appeal. If your yard is looking shabby, consider hiring a professional landscaper to help you spruce it up. You don’t have to go overboard, but a few well-placed bushes and some colorful flowers can make a big impression.
 Just be sure to choose plants that are native to your area so they require minimal maintenance. If you already live in Tennessee, these plants are some of the best options.
Riverbirch Chattanooga home builder Core Homes home plan imageUpdate Your Kitchen

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, and it’s one of the most important rooms when it comes to selling. Outdated or in need of repair Kitchens should get a facelift before they are put on the market. Something as simple as new cabinet hardware makes a huge difference. If you have the budget, new appliances also help increase your home’s value.

Replace Your Carpet
Old, stained carpet is a turn-off for potential buyers. Start with a professional carpet cleaning to spruce up the look and smell of your home’s interior. If that doesn’t cut it, consider replacing your flooring.
You don’t have to go with the most expensive option, but be sure to choose a neutral style and color that will coordinate well with the rest of your home.
Affordable flooring options include:
  • Bamboo
  • Hardwood
  • Laminate
  • Tile
  • Vinyl
  • Concrete

There are pros and cons to each option, so be sure to do your research before making a decision. With so many DIY tutorials available online, you might even be able to install new flooring yourself and save some money in the process.


Clean, Declutter and Stage Your HomeFoxglove dR VS Chattanooga home builder Core Homes home plan image

Once you’ve made all the necessary updates and repairs, it’s time to start getting your home ready for showings. The first step is to do a deep clean from top to bottom. This means cleaning areas that you normally wouldn’t think twice about:
  • Baseboards
  • Light fixtures
  • Ceiling fans
  • Windows
  • Blinds
  • Cabinet doors
  • Walls
And don’t forget to declutter! Buyers want to visualize their own belongings in your home, so minimize countertop, shelf, and surface clutter as much as possible.
If you have the time and money, you might also want to invest in hiring a professional stager. A good stager will be able to transform your home into a showplace that is sure to impress potential buyers.
Finally, it’s important to get rid of personal touches like family photos. You want buyers to be able to see themselves living in your home, not you.
Before you put your home on the market, take a good hard look at your curb appeal. First impressions matter, so if potential buyers see an unkempt yard or chipped paint, they may not even want to come inside.
By taking the time to make some strategic updates, you can make your home look more inviting and maximize your ROI and sell your home quickly – without breaking the bank.
Ready to find your future home? Core Homes has new construction homes available in some of the best locations across Hamilton County. With a wide variety of floor plans and tons of personalization options, we can help you find the perfect home for your needs. Contact our team today!
Core Home Blog divider image

Pros and Cons was originally published by our home building friends at McKee Homes, North Carolina

Chattanooga home builder custom home builder Core Homes home plan imageBUYING NEW VS. USED

If a big move is on the horizon for you and your family, then you may be debating whether to buy an existing home or new construction. It can be a tough decision. There are pros and cons to both options, and it ultimately comes down to what is important to you. Here is a look at some of the key factors to consider when making this decision.

The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Home
Without sounding too biased, there are quite a few advantages that come with buying new construction. And, in our opinion, they outweigh the cons.
Yes, building your own home can sometimes be more costly than buying pre-owned, and you may have to wait 4-8 months to move in (unless you buy a quick move-in home). But, new construction offers benefits that you simply can’t find in an existing home.
First, you’ll get to personalize your home to your exact needs and desires. From the finishes and fixtures, to the size, layout, color and more… There’s so much to choose when you build new.
Plus, a new home is just that – new. Which means there’s no need for repairs or renovations either (at least not for many years).
They’re also built with the latest energy-efficient technology and better construction materials, which can save you a ton of money on your utility bills. From the windows, doors and appliances, to the plumbing, electrical and HVAC system.

Chattanooga home builder Core Homes home plan image

Everything is designed with energy savings in mind.
New homes are often built in new communities with state-of-the-art amenities like playgrounds, fitness centers, and walking trails. So, if an active lifestyle is important to you and your family, then new construction may be the way to go.
And finally, when you buy new construction, you’re also buying peace of mind. Your new house will have a warranty from the builder. So if something does go wrong, you’re covered.
Like we mentioned, the main downside is that they can be more expensive than existing homes and you can’t always move in right away.  But, when you factor in all of the advantages, we think you’ll agree that new construction homes are worth the investment.
The Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Home
Now we wouldn’t be giving you a fair overview of the situation if we didn’t also mention the pros and cons of buying a pre-owned home.
The biggest advantage, of course, is that they’re typically less expensive than new construction. You may be able to find a fixer-upper for a fantastic deal. But, it’s important to remember that those low prices often come with the need for expensive repairs.
While existing homes may have some of the features and amenities that you’re looking for, they might not have all of them. You may have to do some serious renovations to get the home of your dreams — or even just to get everything functioning in a way that meets modern demand.
For example, plumbing and electrical systems in older homes are often not up to code. All will need to be replaced or retrofitted to meet current standards. That can cost many thousands of dollars.
Older homes also tend to be less energy-efficient than new houses, which means you’ll end up spending a lot more on your utility bills each month.
The bottom line is that there are pros and cons to both new construction and pre-owned homes. It really comes down to what’s most important to you and your family.
Which Option is Right for You
Weighing your options is smart shopping, but in the end, you have to go with your gut.
If you’re looking for a home that’s move-in ready and offers all of the features, finishes, and amenities that you desire, then new construction is probably the way to go.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind doing a little work to get the home of your dreams and you’re not as concerned about having all of the bells and whistles, then an existing home might be a better option for you.
We suggest asking yourself these questions:
  • How much can I afford to spend?
  • How quickly do I need to move?
  • What features and amenities are most important to me and my family?
  • Do I have the budget and time to improve the house after I move in?
Once you have your answers, you’ll be one step closer to finding the right home for your needs.
What to Look For When Buying a Home
As a practical matter, you’ll wRiverbirch Chattanooga home builder Core Homes home plan imageant to pay attention to a few key things regardless of whether you’re buying new construction or an existing home:
Location: It’s important to find a neighborhood that you feel comfortable with and is convenient for your lifestyle.
Size: Make sure the house can comfortably accommodate your family currently, and in the future as your lifestyle and needs change.
Budget: In addition to the purchase price, don’t forget to factor in the cost of any necessary repairs or renovations, plus the monthly expenses that come with owning a home.
Warranty: If you’re buying new construction, ask about the builder’s warranty. If you’re buying an existing home, get a home warranty to protect yourself from expensive repairs.
If you’re considering building a home in Chattanooga, we encourage you to check out our Floor Plans. We build new construction homes across Hamilton County. We design our homes with families in mind. Core Homes come complete with all of the features and amenities that you expect from a new home. Contact our team today to start your homebuilding journey!
Core Home Blog divider image

Maintenance Manual for New Home Owners from PWSC

Who or what is PWSC?

PWSC is the Professional Warranty Service Corporation and is Core Homes’ warranty administrator for all our new construction homes. For nearly 30 years, PWSC has served as a nationally recognized administration leader in the home building industry. Their warranties protect more than 1.7 million homes across the nation.

You shouldn’t ignore or take shortcuts when it comes to maintaining what is probably your single biggest investment and the thing that shelters and protects your family. Even if you are not a Core Homes home owner, download this manual and use it as a tool to keep your home looking great and functioning for many years.

PWSC Warranty manual
The PWSC manual includes the following:

• Tips for moving into your new home
• Regular maintenance schedules to keep big issues at bay
• Signs to look for to help identify and fix common home concerns
• Charts to track maintenance and repairs
• Tips on understanding your PWSC (for Core Homes home owners) home warranty and how to use the policy.





If you aren’t a Core Homes home owner, visit our available homes page on our website for new homes available in all stages of construction. If you would like to build from the ground up – visit our home plan page to search through nearly 3 dozen home plans. One will certainly fit your wants and needs for a fresh, new home!

You love your new Core Home. We and PWSC do too!



Core Home Blog divider image




Why Do New Home Builders Want You to Use Their Lender?

If you have spent any significant time researching new home construction options and new home builders, you’ve discovered most builders have a “Preferred Lender” listed on their website. Why do builders and lenders form these “preferred” partnerships? Are there nefarious back room deal makings going on? No, absolutely not.
There are two main reasons builders will partner with a mortgage lender – and both give advantages and buying power to the home buyer.

First – most mortgage lenders have new construction programs that offer a percentage or flat rate towards lowering the mortgage loan amount or closing costs. Different lenders offer different incentives to use them.
Secondly – over the course of the partnership the builder learns the lender’s processes and the lender learns the builder’s. There are no surprise bumps or procedures securing the mortgage loan and ultimately the closing goes much smoother and efficiently. Less stress on all parties!

Core Homes is happy to announce we have entered into a Preferred Lender partnership with FirstBank Mortgage!first bank logo

Recently, Core Homes entered into a partnership with FirstBank. We have done business with FirstBank for several years and we are excited to work with them as a Preferred Lender.
We sat down with Rodney Long, our Mortgage Banker, to ask him some questions about what FirstBank Mortgage is now offering Core Homes home buyers.

Rodney Long Preferred Lender for Core HomesPlease introduce yourself. How long have you been in mortgage lending? What do you like to do in your down time?
My Name is Rodney Long and am currently working with FirstBank Mortgage. I have been blessed with the opportunity to assist families with their mortgage needs for 23 years. In my spare time, me and my family enjoy walking our dogs, kayaking, riding our bikes along the Tennessee River, and family game night.

What is the mortgage outlook right now, considering the Fed’s increase in interest rates?
The purchase of a home is a great way to secure future wealth through equity of owning a home. Today’s interest rates impact a family’s buying power. In a rising rate environment it is more important to put together a sound mortgage plan for future success. FirstBank can tailor a plan that meets their current need and stability to meet long term goals.

What information should a potential home buyer bring with them when they talk with you?
In order to complete a mortgage loan in a timely manner, I need the borrower’s driver’s license, most recent pay stub, and W-2. If they are self-employed then two years of their most recent tax returns.

Is now a good time to buy or build a new home?
Today is a great time to buy a home while housing prices are still affordable. Chattanooga home prices are still 22% lower than the market average. Families should buy today and take advantage of the equity appreciation in their new home.

In your experience, what are people most afraid of or perhaps, have the greatest misconception about mortgages?
I think the misconception of buying a new home is that it requires a large down payment. FirstBank has a wide array of mortgage products that require as little as 3% down and nothing for Veterans. Contact me to see what products fit your needs. We have an online application to get you started.

What should a person looking to buy or build a new home do right now, today?
I your are thinking of buying or building your forever home, I recommend the buyer(s) sit down with a FirstBank Mortgage Professional to start building a successful mortgage plan.

Last question: Why is FirstBank a good choice for Core Homes buyers for a mortgage loan?
FirstBank is one of the top mortgage lenders in our area. We are a personable, local community bank that can meet in person or we are able to utilize the most up-to-date technology to make the lending process seamless from start to finish. We offer Conventional, FHA, USDA, THDA, and VA loans to those deserving Veterans. And for Core Homes home buyers, we are offering a Lender Credit of 1% of the loan amount at closing up to a maximum of $5,000. This credit can be used to lower the interest rate on the loan, or can apply towards closing costs. This can represent a significant savings to the Core Homes buyer. 


Chattanooga home builder Core Homes blog post image house in framingCore Homes has Available Homes in all Stages of Construction
We have available homes in Apison, Harrison, and Ooltewah  and Soddy Daisy. From just at foundation to nearly complete! Give Kadi or Dell a call and discuss which Core Community is for you!


Core Home Blog divider image




Chattanooga home builder Core Homes blog post image house in framingNew Home Move Up Buyer Guide

If you already own a home, condo or townhome and are considering selling and buying something newer, bigger, better for whatever reason, this move-up buyer guide is for you.

How do you know if you are a move-up buyer?

  • Are you relocating and looking to find a home with features you didn’t get in your first home?
  • Do you have a growing family and need more room, a larger yard, a better location?
  • Are you tired of making constant repairs on your existing home and want to buy a new home with new systems and appliances?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you would be considered a move-up buyer. These are just a few of the reasons people decide to buy a new home, so whatever the reason, check out this move-up buyer guide and use it as a roadmap for a smooth transition to your next home.


Getting Started

  • Which comes first, buying or selling?

    If you can afford to buy a new home before selling your current home, that is usually the best approach. You won’t have much leverage when buying a new home if the sale is contingent on the sale of your current home.
    One determining factor in making that decision would be how quickly homes are selling in your neighborhood. If they are only staying on the market for a few days or weeks, you could be confident in buying you next home first. However, if you live in an area where homes are taking 60-90 days or more to sell, you may need to consider selling first or finding a service such as Zillow Offers to buy your current home. With Zillow Offers, you don’t have to do repairs or painting of your home to sell it. You can even pick the closing and move-out date to fit into your schedule.


  • What is driving you to buy a new home?


How much does it cost to build a house?

Or –  A Home Builder’s Most Challenging Question


Chattanooga home builder Core Homes blog post image house in framingHow much does it cost to build a house? Followed quickly by, “How much per square foot does this home cost to build?

A good home builder winces when a prospective home buyer inevitably asks this question. Not because they don’t want to be transparent or try to hide anything with their client, it’s just not a good way to look at the cost of building a new home. Confused? Let us explain.


Could we give you a per square foot cost? Of course, we could. But that cost would be for a bare bone home, floating in the air. Cool idea, but Core Homes does not – at this point – build homes that float. Even if we did, it would have to float above something, and that something would have a cost involved. But we digress.


Here is a great analogy: Let’s say your daughter is getting married. Your neighbor’s daughter is also getting married.
Both young ladies want their weddings to be held at the elegant Edwin Hotel downtown. Both weddings will have approximately 100 guests attend. 

Your daughter has 6 attendants, wants a wedding room full of fresh flowers, a sit-down dinner at the reception with a live band, and a dove release as she and her new husband leave in a horse-drawn carriage. 

See where we’re going with this?

Your neighbor’s daughter has 3 attendants, wants fresh flowers at the altar, will have a delicious buffet reception with a popular DJ. She and her new husband will leave the hotel in his shoe polish and balloon decorated car with guests holding sparklers.

Both ladies will have beautiful weddings at The Edwin Hotel. But did both events cost the same per guest? No, obviously.

So, what are the variables that go into the cost to build a new house?


So many variables go into determining the cost of a home, any home for sale, but more specifically, new construction homes.

First of all, the area the home will be built in is the first variable to consider. What are similar homes selling for? What is the current average home value of a home in the neighborhood you are considering building your new home? Is this neighborhood a highly sought-after community? Does it have nice amenities, good schools, a good HOA?
Location, Location, Location is not just a cliché!


Secondly, the actual homesite your home will be built on, is it nice and flat? Will the builder need to grade a great deal to make it buildable? Will there need to be a retaining wall built? Does the slope necessitate a basement or crawl space?

Is it a premium site within the community? Is it on the water, or does it have a great view of the mountains?

All these things will put a site premium on a piece of land.

Consider that two identical homes built on different sites, even within the same community, on the same road, could vary a good deal in price because of site conditions.


Chattanooga home builder Core Homes blog post kitchen

Now we come to your lovely new home.
You’ve picked the perfect home plan – you love it. Of course, you want it to reflect your unique tastes and lifestyle.

Will this be a forever home? You will want to consider widening doorways and having zero entry showers. Everyone needs a home office or “Zoom room” these days. Adding glass, double french doors to the plan’s formal dining room to add privacy will be an added cost. Perhaps a boomerang child or an elderly parent will be living with you so you need a closet added to a study downstairs. Or you just fell in love with quartz countertops instead of granite. The list goes on. Rarely do home buyers make no upgraded selections or structural changes to existing floor plans. Getting your new home perfect for you, comes with some costs.


But does every home buyer pick the same changes or upgrades? No, of course not. And that is why, along with the other above-mentioned situations, will always factor into the total cost of building a home.

And that is why it is nearly impossible for a reputable home builder to quote a square foot cost upfront.


So, where does that leave a home buyer when considering building a new home?


First – and most importantly – talk to your mortgage lender partner first. If you don’t have one you do business with already and trust, ask builders. We work with many lenders, local and otherwise. We can give you some options to shop.

Once you know what loan amount you are pre-approved for, you can start looking at areas you want to be in and which builders are building in that area.
Know your timeframe. When do you want or need to be in your new home?
There are many variables that go into build time. Some variables a builder has no control over, like 3 months of rain and below-freezing temper atures. Sounds extreme, but it happens. The current supply chain shortage is another example. Who knew it would ever take 6 months lead time to get garage doors? Know your timeframe but realize you’ll probably need to have at least some flexibility.

Chattanooga home builder Core Homes blog post design center

Also, take time to make a list of your “must-haves” versus your “would likes”. Sitting down with a designer in a Design Center can be a little overwhelming. Thereare a lot of choices, a lot of beautiful choices. You’ll want EVERYTHING! Know what you’re willing to spend money on, and what you aren’t willing to increase your budget over. But don’t panic. Communicate with your Realtor, builder, and designer and we’ll help stay within your comfort zone. We’re here to make building your new home a great experience.


To Wrap Up – What does it cost to build a house?

If a builder gives you a square footage cost to build one of their homes, be wary. It will always be a bare-bones cost. If a builder sells with square footage cost, they see their homes as simply a commodity – a product. Price is the only thing they can compete on with other builders.

That is not how Core Homes views their homes. We create living spaces. The foundation and heart of your life.

Talk to our people. Visit our Design Center. Look around our website and social media pages. Get to know us and how we do business. You’ll find we want to build your home with you. We will work with you to create a home that you absolutely love and is within your investment comfort zone.


We believe in Home & Life – Well Lived!


Core Home Blog divider image



Why 2022 is the Year to Buy New

Choose Chattanooga home builder core homes blog pic  choose chattanooga home builder blog pic  choose chattanooga home builder blog pic

The 2022 Choose Chattanooga Relocation Guide just hit shelves last week. You don’t have to be a Realtor or a home builder to know that the Scenic City has become a mecca for folks escaping the high costs of living, cold-weather, or impossible traffic.
The pandemic has changed how people live in their homes – and a lot have found their current homes can’t provide the flexibility and livability home life now demands. This blog, published on a fellow home builders site, emphasizes why building now is the best option to get the most function, enjoyment, and return on investment in a new home. Give it a read.

this post was originally published on
If you’ve been on the fence about buying a new construction home, there are plenty of good reasons to finalize your decision sooner rather than later. The main motivating factor should be that home prices are not expected to decrease any time soon; they are, in fact, projected to increase for the foreseeable future. Interest rates are also still low compared to pre-pandemic rates, though these, too, will begin to rise (as they have already).

Prices and Rates Expected to Climb

Going into the new year, there is certainly less volatility in the real estate market than we saw in 2020 and 2021. Then, prices were increasing at breakneck speed as demand shot up. All we heard were stories about bidding wars, waved inspections, and even waved appraisals as buyers brought cash to the closing table. Now, as demand cools, home prices are, too. But if you think they’ll start decreasing anytime soon, you may want to re-evaluate.

Zillow predicts home prices will rise 14.3% in the next year, and much of that has to do with the cost of building products and supplies. Lumber, while much more available than it was a year ago, continues to cost well above what it did pre-pandemic, and those costs continue to creep up. The same is true for just about every component of a home — from flooring to HVAC systems to paint. As with housing in general, the demand is just too high as manufacturers struggle to keep up, and prices reflect that.

Demand for new houses isn’t letting up anytime soon. The U.S. currently has under built housing by at least 5.5 million homes. Even as the pace of building picks back up, it will take five or six more years before supply and demand level out, continuing to buoy the price of homes.

Still-low interest rates are also a great reason to buy a new home now. Even with higher home prices, today’s low rates help to keep monthly mortgage payments reasonable for home buyers. And if you have a certain budget that you must stick to, the ability to afford a larger home is an added perk of low interest rates. But they won’t stay low forever, and are predicted to rise substantially in 2022.

Now is the RIGHT Time to Build

Chattanooga home builder custom home builder Core Homes home plan image Chattanooga home builder custom home builder Core Homes home plan image Chattanooga home builder custom home builder Core Homes home plan image

If you’ve been in “wait and see” mode for the last few years, you’ve probably looked extensively at floor plans and chosen one or two that would be perfect for you and your family. And chances are you’ve identified exactly where you would build your new home. Now is the RIGHT time to start the process, while the communities you like still have availability and the interest rates are still low.

Connect with us to learn all about new home financing, our proven process, and how you can start building your dream home today.


Core Home Blog divider image



SPRING BREAK SPECIAL: $7,500 in upgrades or credit toward closing costs on select homes Call 423-805-2676 for details!