Most of us spend quite a bit of time thinking about what it would be like to live in our dream home. Perhaps you’ve daydreamed about the neighborhood, the tree-shaded backyard, or the pool you want to have on a sunny deck.

For more than 30 years, the Ernst brothers have been helping people in Nashville, Hendersonville, and the rest of Middle Tennessee move into their dream homes. Now, as part of Arthur Rutenberg Homes, they have even more access to award-winning custom home designs.

If you’re in the market for a home, you have to decide whether a new construction, custom home is right for you, or if you’re going to buy a pre-owned house. Older houses certainly have character, but you’ll probably find that the advantages of owning a new home are far greater, and the great news is you can add just as much character to your custom home. Here are five reasons why you should build instead of buying a used house.

1. Customization: You might have to work within some zoning parameters in your neighborhood, but you’ll still have plenty of room for personal choice when you’re designing your custom home. Arthur Rutenberg Homes has more than 80 designs to choose from, and you can customize each floor plan to suit the needs of your family. Lay out the bedrooms, bathrooms, and family areas however will best suit your needs. Add high cathedral ceilings, big walk-in closets, and lots of counter space in the kitchen for cooking to your heart’s content. You also get to choose whether you want stone, brick, or siding on the exterior, and inside you can go nuts with cabinets, floors, countertops, fixtures, and other design elements. Get what you want right up front instead of having to settle for what someone else chose and slowly change out everything to your taste.

2. Up-to-Date Features: Technology is constantly changing, and today’s new homes are built to keep up for a while to come. You can have built-in items added like a convection oven, a bottom-freezer refrigerator, an in-house vacuum system, and hardwired fire, carbon monoxide, and security systems. Many new homes are also outfitted not only with phone and electric outlets, but everything you’ll need to hook up your cable or satellite and Internet systems.

3. Energy Efficiency: New building materials are also more eco-friendly and energy efficient than they were in years past. Advances even in the last five or ten years have made it easier and more affordable than ever to help your new home meet all the current green building standards, without having to retrofit anything. You’ll get Energy Star appliances, better insulation in the ceiling, floors, and walls, durable, eco-friendly doors and windows, and plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems to keep your home comfortable while saving you money.

4. Safety: Today’s homes are not only efficient but smart. Gone are the days of having to worry about faulty wiring or lead paint. Now, state-of-the-art circuit breakers keep you safe from electrical fires. Infrared beams in your garage door open keep your children or pets from getting crushed. The materials used to decorate, heat, and cool your home don’t contain asbestos or other toxic ingredients that could poison your family.

5. Low (and Affordable) Maintenance: Because all the materials used in building your new custom home are the latest on the market, they’re made to last. New appliances are high performance so they won’t need regular repairs. Carpets, roofs, and siding are often made from composite materials that won’t rust, rot, or otherwise wear out. And because they’re all new items, many come with a warranty, either from the manufacturer or the home builder, so if there is a problem, you won’t have to pay to replace or repair anything.

As you can see, building a new home really is the best way to go. And don’t be put off by what might initially seem like a higher price. When you see how much you save on utility bills, maintenance costs, and other spending that comes along with owning an older home, you’ll understand that even a higher price up front can be worthwhile in the long run.