Resale or New Construction?

When it comes home buying, one size definitely does not fit all.

As you begin house hunting, the big decision will be whether you want a brand-new home that no one else has lived in or an existing home with some history and maybe a bit of character. When deciding on buying a new home vs. a resale, there are many advantages and disadvantages to both. A lot of it comes down to personal preference.

Today, most new homes are built in developments with a unified style, often with communal areas, and anywhere from a handful to hundreds of homes. Built to the latest codes and standards, they tend to be updated, energy efficient, and more expensive than resale homes of a similar size. Here are some of the pros and cons of new construction:

Advantages to new construction:

  • Updated style
  • May have some flexibility on design during construction phase
  • Cheaper to maintain (new appliances = fewer repairs)
  • Cheaper to operate (energy-efficient construction)
  • Extended warranties
  • A cohesive neighborhood (consistent layout, common areas)
  • Frequently have a homeowners association (helps protect resale value); may have community amenities such as a pool, clubhouse and walking trails that’s included in HOA.

Disadvantages to new construction:

  • Cookie-cutter design
  • Higher price (upscale amenities, current construction costs, possible HOA fees)
  • Limited negotiating room on price
  • Generally smaller yard, fewer trees
  • Potential for monthly homeowner dues
  • Risk of poor construction
  • Frequently less character because of a homogenous design
  • Frequently have a homeowners association (can put limits on how you use your property)

With new developments springing up everywhere, it’s obvious that new construction is popular. And yet, most people buy a resale home. Of course, there are pros and cons to buying a resale home too:

Advantage of buying a resale home:

  • Availability: More choices and styles to choose from
  • Lower price
  • Price may be more negotiable
  • Track record: Many repairs already made
  • Established neighborhood
  • Older homes may have more character and unique characteristics
  • Usually yards and neighborhoods have lots of mature trees and established landscaping

Disadvantages to buying a resale home:

  • More maintenance: Things may break or wear out more quickly
  • Less energy-efficient: May be more costly to maintain
  • Dated design, older appliances and amenities
  • Generally smaller bedrooms, bathrooms and windows
  • Often will need updating
  • It has been lived in

Once you find a house you like, consider its pros and cons, both objectively and emotionally. Then think about the compromises you’re willing to make. Ultimately, buying a new or resale home will be a lifestyle decision, but a licensed Realtor can help guide you to the right choice for your family and help make the buying process go as smoothly as possible.