It's an age-old question in the world of home buying: do I build a new home or purchase a resale home (sometimes called a pre-owned home)? For many, building new can feel daunting. Not quite certain of the building process, or perhaps under the impression it will cost substantially more to build new, many stick with what they're comfortable with and purchase a resale house.
With the introduction of certain television reality shows in the industry of home renovations, however, we can begin to see — coincidentally — the reality of the situation.
It's more than just dollars and cents for this decision; you need to figure out what you want and which option fits your needs best.
Difference in Cost
A lot of home buyers will purchase a resale house because things like the landscaping, fencing, and garage are already finished. Once you move in, you don't need to think about any additional costs of finishing your yard.
What they don't realize, though, is those existing features could need repair or maintenance or not be exactly what you want. When was the last time the fence was painted? Does the garage door need to be replaced? If the yard hasn't been maintained, there may be costs to tear out what's there and redo it the way you want.
And what you may not know is you can add fencing, landscaping, or a garage to the purchase of your home, meaning you won't need to find the extra money later. It'll already be paid for. Maybe, you want your builder to finish your deck too!
Surprise! (But Not the Good Kind)
One of the most common worries when buying a resale home is you don't know its history. How many homeowners has this place had? Has there been any DIY work completed on the home? Not only can DIY work be incomplete or completed incorrectly, but it also may be illegal. Did the homeowners get a permit for basement development?
Depending on the age of the home, it could also have hidden problems that previous homeowners didn't know about. For example, you decide you're going to replace your kitchen cabinets. You tear them out and realize that at some point there was a leak and the floorboards are rotten. Now, you need to tear our flooring and fix plumbing - your cosmetic kitchen change has turned into a flood of added costs you weren't expecting.
Probably the most unnerving part about buying a resale home is the unknown structural integrity. Previous homeowners may have hired trades or done some work on their own that compromised the structure of the home. It's quite common to see support joists being cut in order to accommodate plumbing or HVAC, rendering those joists insufficient to sustain the load of the home. Often these problems are hidden under drywall in the basement ceiling, and you won't find it until you open it up to do some work of your own.
With a new home build, none of these scenarios are a concern. You'll have a brand new home, built to the high standards, and all to code. Not only that, you get a new home warranty for even more peace of mind when you build with Sterling Homes.
It's Never Really "You"
When you buy a used home, unless it has been very recently renovated by someone with the same taste as yours, you will most likely need or want to renovate. Paint is easy, but it usually opens up a can of worms into changing flooring, trim, cabinets, and stripping popcorn from the ceiling. Although you might save money in having a completed backyard, inside, you'll find yourself pulling out your wallet.
With a new build, you have the opportunity to choose the perfect floor plan for you. You'll visit the extensive design centre to choose your own colours, finishes, and style. Your new home is built exactly as you need and want, personalized to you. And all of the items on your wish list, including upgrades, can be incorporated into the price, so you won't have to pay extra later to get anything done. That includes window coverings!
Location, Location, Location
You need to know which type of location appeals to you and your family's needs. When it comes to a resale home, you're looking at a mature, established neighbourhood, usually with good access to public transit. These communities have mature landscaping and a style of houses that most builders don't make anymore.
Looking at newer communities, these are master planned, with landscaping, green spaces, walking trails and more. Commercial developments love new areas and are quick to supply needed amenities to them. These neighbourhoods have homes with a modern design. With lower crime in many newer communities, you'll have peace of mind living in your new home as well.
There is plenty of choice in today's housing market, and builders are working harder than ever to provide home buyers with opportunities to build a new home and still benefit from those things they prefer in a resale home.
New communities are being planned with complete living experiences, offering everything you need within your own area. New home builders are more flexible in terms of the changes and features they offer. Now is the time to explore building a new home for you and your family.
Originally posted May 5, 2017, updated March 20, 2019.