Many of us dream of building their own home according to their preferences – a place where they will feel like themselves, relaxed and sheltered from the outside world.
It’s no wonder that some are ready for the endeavour of having a new home built for them, but we often forget the chance of simply buying a pre-owned home and focus on decorating it the way we want. So, if you are offered a choice, what should you do? Let’s consider the benefits and shortages of each – new construction or resale homes.
1. The cost
In essence, a new home will be far more expensive than a pre-owned home. Today’s market offers slow home turnover results, lowering the prices of older homes to a great extent. On the other hand, building a new home these days is almost 50% more expensive than it used to be, while there are numerous beautiful old homes waiting to be lived in.
The truth is, when it comes to building a new home, it will always be a seller’s market from the moment you start to do business with a builder, while it’s really a buyer’s market when it comes to older homes.
The option closest to having a new home is managing to buy a new home that’s already being built, waiting for its first owners.
(Bo’s note: This factor really depends on your local market and the price range you’re looking to buy.)
2. The environmental impact
The fact is that a lot of new material needs to be used when building a new house. And let’s just add the CO2 output and the inevitable urban sprawl to it. Of course, there’s an option to build a LEED-certified home or a tiny, compact home out of reclaimed materials, making the environmental impact almost non-existent.
On the other hand, buying an old house and retro-fit it with energy saving material leaves an even smaller carbon footprint.
3. The quality
Sometimes, newer means better and sometimes it doesn’t. Newer homes have the advantage of zero years behind them, while the old ones spent maybe decades under various weather conditions, becoming ramshackle in the process.
Looking from a different point of view, it’s a fact that today’s homes are nowhere near the old ones when it comes to quality of the material. The result you get is that the internal walls are thicker and more solid, meaning the rooms will be better soundproofed and the walls will endure strong knocks.
The secret is in the importance of craftsmanship and pride that contributed to building strong, durable houses in the past. Local builders could be found on every step and they put a lot of hard and quality work into the building process, while today’s building industry gives priority to speed and low-cost material. It’s not about getting the job right anymore; it’s about getting it done quickly.
(Bo’s note: “Many new home builders install electric furnaces instead of natural gas ones. These electric models DO carry certain advantages, however most of those benefits are in the builders favour, NOT the home owner. Check out the pros and cons of electric furnaces in this article.)
4. The hard and long-lasting work
A new dream house comes with a price – be ready for weeks of micromanagement, unforeseeable problems, difficult decision-making and frustration almost every single day. This won’t be too much of an issue if you are a patient person and you have a lot of time to invest in your new home. However, if time and stress-free life are your priorities, it’s so much easier to just pick an older home and spend the time that you saved on adjusting it to your needs.
For example, everyone needs quality air conditioning. With an old home, you can also save time by hiring an aircon service to do this very quickly, as there’s no middleman between you and the manufacturer. But when you’re building from scratch, you have to make sure that your contractors take air conditioning into account, so that you won’t be in trouble the moment you need to move in, and realize that air conditioning would take even more work.
(Bo’s note: One of the challenges in Winnipeg’s real estate market is that most builders do not have a huge selection of homes, already built and ready to buy. Most are built on special order for buyers. The problem: buyers can’t see what they’re getting, except in mock ups, brochures and samples. On the other hand, when looking at a re-sale home, you can see what you’re getting – it’s already fully finished)
5. Home warranties
The good thing about having a new home is that the warranties begin from the closing date of the home, meaning that all appliances have at least 1-year guarantee, while appliance manufacturers offer even extended warranties. Still, it can also be done in a pre-owned home, as the seller and the buyer can negotiate an extended warranty on most home appliances. Even though there’s always the “What if” question when it comes to pre-owned homes, let’s just remind ourselves of the fact that warranties in new homes don’t usually cover tear and improper use, which, let’s be honest, happens very often.
6. Hidden Extras
There are a lot of things we have come to take for granted, which are NOT included in most new construction homes. Items such as Central Air, garage door openers, lawn, fences, window coverings, decks and many more. Make sure you understand WHAT is included, and what is not.
New Construction or Resale: Summary
Deciding whether to buy a new construction or resale home is not an easy choice. It’s important to be aware of all the pros and cons of each of these two options.
The most important thing here is to decide first how much money you are willing to spend and how much time and effort you have the luxury to invest in any of these endeavours. Then, schedule a meeting with a real estate agent to discuss your various options.