Should You Buy a New Home or an Existing Home?

Buy or Build New

According to research by BDX, 48 percent of homebuyers prefer to purchase an existing home, 19 percent prefer a newly built house and 35 percent are open to either type of residence. While some homebuyers prefer resale houses because they appreciate the value of an established neighborhood or like the architectural style or history in an older home, others are convinced that they only want to buy a brand new home where no one else has ever cooked a meal or given their kids a bath.

If you’re among the 35 percent of buyers who could envision themselves in a new or existing home, you may want to dig a little deeper into the pros and cons of each choice.

Advantages of buying new

The number one advantage of newly built houses is the fact that they are new. The houses are built to the latest code and have all new appliances and systems. There are some other advantages, too, such as:

  • Floor plans reflect how people live today. Newly built homes have been designed with today’s buyers in mind so they tend to have an open floor plan on the main level with a kitchen, breakfast area and family room that function for the casual lifestyle of most buyers.
  • Focus on natural light and indoor-outdoor space. New houses often have more windows and larger windows than older homes and emphasize access to the outdoors from multiple rooms.
  • Personalization is possible. Depending on the builder, you can change structural elements or at least pick your preferred color palette and materials for floors, cabinets and counters in a new home. Changing those items in a resale property can be costly.
  • Less maintenance. You’re less likely to need to repair anything in a new home for at least the first few years. Many new homes are designed for low-maintenance living with finishes and features that are easier to keep clean. Builders also provide a warranty to repair or replace items for a specific timeframe.
  • Energy-efficient. Newly built homes are designed to be more energy-efficient and have the latest systems and appliances in place so your energy bills will be lower.

Advantages of existing homes

Existing homes have a few advantages over new construction, with the number one advantage being price. In most cases, a newly built home will be more expensive than an existing home of similar size and in a similar location. In addition, existing homes offer the following benefits:

  • Available for move-in now. A major drawback for some would-be new home buyers is the waiting period. An existing home is typically ready for you within 30 to 60 days at most, as soon as the financing is in place. A new home could take six to nine months to be complete.
  • Ability to negotiate on price. Depending on local market conditions, you can often negotiate a lower price for a resale. Builders rarely negotiate on price, although they may offer incentives such as additional finished space or closing cost assistance.
  • Clarity about what you are buying. When you inspect a resale and read the contract you know exactly what you are purchasing, but in a new home you may be confused about which features are included and which are optional.
  • Finished community amenities. New communities often wait until a certain number of homes are complete before building planned amenities such as a swimming pool or a clubhouse. Existing homes are usually located in a community that has its amenities in place. Among those amenities are neighborhood schools, which may not be in place right away in a new development.
  • Landscaping already mature. New communities often have ongoing construction and have trees and plants that have yet to grow. When you buy a resale you can see what the trees and neighborhood look like after completion.

For most buyers, their timeline and budget drives the decision whether to buy a resale or a new home. If you can afford either a newly built or a resale property and have a flexible move date, you should consider other factors before making a final decision on the right house for you.