Old or New: Which House Should You Buy?
While shopping for your next home, you may run into the situation where you’re deciding between a previously lived in house and a house that’s brand new. A spotless new construction may be enticing enough to convince you to pony up the larger cost, but the decision between old versus new is more complicated than just the price tag. In fact, there are a lot more factors to consider, and there’s no one answer that applies to all shoppers. Here’s what you should know.
Buying a New House
Buying a brand new home comes with some advantages over one that’s housed previous families. Here are the pros for buying a new home:
- Maintenance – In a brand new home, there’s little you need to worry about with maintenance, at least for several years. Your wiring, plumbing, roof, and HVAC system will all be in pristine condition and built to code, requiring only minor upkeep. Even if something goes wrong, there may be a builder’s warranty.
- Energy Efficiency – With new and modern building materials and tech, a new home is likely to be more energy-efficient than an old home. Some new homes might even come with solar panels and dual pane windows that help slash energy bills.
- Customization – Since you’re starting with essentially a blank slate, you have a lot of options for customizing interiors to exactly how you imagine them. The work will be speedier for any contractors as well since they won’t have to tear out old fixtures.
Buying a new home can be a great option, but it does come with some drawbacks.
- Cost – A brand new home can cost considerably more than an existing one, usually at the tune of an additional 20-30%. Because of this, it may not be feasible for first time buyers who don’t want to break the bank. That’s also not including the likely higher property taxes.
- Location – It’s difficult to put up a brand new home in an existing neighborhood, which means a new home is less likely to have the same immediate community that comes with an older home. The commute to work might be longer as well.
- Resale Value – Because the house is new, there’s no history of past transactions to show what the house has been worth over the years. If you’re buying a new construction as an investment, that can turn out to be a potential risk.
Buying an Existing House
Just like with buying a new house, buying an existing one comes with its own set of pros and cons. Here are some of the advantages.
- Cost – An existing home will usually have a lower selling cost than a new one. This cost can be disguised by inevitable renovations, so it’s best to have an idea of what work will need to be done to make the purchase worth it.
- History – An older house – and the neighborhood where it lies – will have an existing history and character that just isn’t present with a new home. Little quirks of the construction add to the charm, and neighbors will have lots of stories about the previous owners and the neighborhood. An older home will also have more mature landscaping.
- Proven Investment – An existing home is less likely to see the volatile value swings of a newer home, so you can take comfort in knowing your investment is sound. And if you strategically pump renovations into the home, you could even sell later on for a profit.
Buying an existing home of course comes with the side effects of decades of homeownership.
- Maintenance – Almost the complete opposite case for a newer home, an existing property is almost guaranteed to require some serious attention. Some of this maintenance may be negotiated with the seller, but you’ll likely have to do some dirty work yourself.
- Outdated design – The interior design, as well as the interior layout, may feature some once popular but now outdated concepts that clash with what the modern homeowner will want. Expect to see outdated fixtures and little closet space.
- Competition – Due to the reduced cost and location of an existing home, you’ll likely see more competition than you would for a new construction. This can be upsetting for buyers who lose out on a home they thought would be perfect.
Buying a home, whether it’s a new or an existing one, is a big decision. There’s no wrong or right answer that applies to all shoppers, so it’s best to give me a call and I can help you make the right decision.
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