Buying a house means making decisions; from choosing a neighborhood, to deciding how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need to picking between new construction and resale listings, it can feel like there’s no shortage of options for homebuyers.
If the area where you’re looking happens to have both newly built homes and resale listings available, don’t be tempted to only look at the new construction listings. There are pros and cons to both types of homes, and the right decision ultimately depends on a number of factors, all of which vary from one buyer to the next.
New Construction vs. Resale: Which One Is Right For You?
You’ll receive a warranty.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of buying a new home is having the opportunity to buy a warranty from the builder, through which repairs and replacements may be made at no additional cost for a given period of time after closing on the deal. If you aren’t particularly handy, having a warranty can offer peace of mind during those first few years in your new home.
It’s worth noting, however, that not all repairs may be covered. Take the time to carefully read through and analyze the terms of your builder’s warranty right from the beginning to avoid problems later on.
Your home should comply with current building codes.
Generally speaking, newly constructed homes are less likely to violate building codes than older properties. That said, I still encourage each and every client to hire a home inspector prior to closing, just to make sure any potential problems can be corrected as quickly as possible.
New homes usually include new appliances.
If construction is still underway, confirm with your builder whether or not appliances will be included with the home—and if so, find out specifically which ones. You may even be able to pick out your own appliances if you would like to do so.
You can customize the home before moving in.
Again, this will depend on whether or not construction has been completed, but typically, builders will offer a number of upgrades that you can choose from to make the home better suit your personal style.
Your home won’t look exactly like the model home you’re shown.
If the home you’ll be purchasing hasn’t been completed yet, your Realtor will only be able to show you the builder’s model home. Most of the time, model homes include costly upgrades, so be sure to ask well in advance if your future home will include the features you’re attracted to most.
There’s no telling what the home inspector may find.
As much as we’d all like to believe new construction is problem-free, there are no guarantees. Always hire a home inspector when you’re buying property.
Construction may delay your move-in date.
There are countless reasons why construction may not be finished on time, including factors beyond anyone’s control, like extreme weather conditions. If your move-in date is non-negotiable and construction hasn’t already been finished before you’ve begun your search, then it may be best to focus your search on resale listings instead.
What you see is what you get.
There is no “model home” to look at when you’re buying a resale property. Everything you love (or hate) about each home you look at could be yours for no more than the asking price.
You’ll probably have a shorter commute.
Generally speaking, new construction tends to be located in a city’s outlying suburbs, whereas older homes are more centrally located. If you want to avoid a long commute or prefer easy access to shopping, entertainment, and work, ask your Realtor to help you find resale listings.
Your budget may go further.
This will vary by neighborhood, but newer homes tend to be built on smaller plots than resale listings. So although you’d be buying an older home, your budget may actually go farther when you purchase a resale property.
The home may require cosmetic upgrades.
Of course, when you’re buying a home that’s been occupied, there may be some wear and tear that needs sprucing up before you can get settled. Alternatively, if the home’s style is particularly outdated, it may take several weeks or even months of remodeling before you’re satisfied with the property’s look and feel.
You might need to bring the home up to current safety codes.
Because building codes evolve over the years, older homes may not be compliant with today’s standards. This is just another example of why you’ll want to have the property inspected before closing—if the home does violate safety codes, you can negotiate with the seller for a lower price or require him/ her to make repairs as needed.
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