Buy Existing or Build New?

Most people have ideals for their dream home. A gas fireplace in the living room, a vaulted ceiling in the primary bedroom, an island with seating in the kitchen, etc. Chances are they’ve lived in a few homes that were less than ideal and now they want the “dream” home.

What is best? Buy an existing home or build a new home?

There are several factors to consider. First, we’ll look at buying an existing home.

1. Unique Design. When you buy an existing home you have options of homes through all decades, from historic homes to more recent builds. This allows you to look for any style home from a bilevel to a bungalow to a cape cod to a colonial and so on.

2. Renovations May Be Needed. Unless the owners have done a lot of work, most older homes are outdated and need renovations. Often fresh paint and new flooring are a priority. Some homes may need kitchen and bathroom makeovers, which are extensive and expensive.

3. Repairs May Be Required. Depending upon the age of the home, and what the owner has done, older homes typically require more repairs and maintenance. The home may need a new roof or HVAC, or it may need the electric and plumbing upgraded, etc. Repairs can be costly if there are “big ticket” items that need to be replaced.

4. Ideal Location and Lot. If choosing an existing home, you will have more options for the location and lot size. New builds are typically in communities with smaller size lots and could also have an HOA. An existing home gives you more choices to find that home by the woods with a private backyard, or in a neighborhood you love.

5. Mature Landscaping. If you love big trees and always imagined a park-like setting for your backyard, an existing home may be the better option. New construction means new plantings while an older home is more likely to have beautiful trees, bushes, and beds. 

Now let’s look at building a new home.

1. Everything is New. This is one of the most desirable pros about building a new home. Everything is brand new – the roof, HVAC, electrical and plumbing. The home has been built to the latest codes and there has been no “retrofitting” or add ons. Typically this means years and years of no repairs.

2. Modern Design. There’s nothing outdated on a new build! Color choices and styling, both inside and outside, reflect current trends. If you’re willing to pay for upgrades, you can get high-end finishes and customize your look.

3. Energy Efficient. New homes are built with energy savings in mind. Vinyl windows, doors and trim all help keep the home air tight. Better insulation and other construction materials help keep a home’s temperature moderated to save on energy bills.

4. Planned Timeline. When building a new home, you will have a fairly solid timeline for the completion. This allows you to begin preparing to move, knowing exactly where and when you are moving. Unlike existing homes where you are watching the market and running to multiple showings, you choose your home and begin the process.

5. Restrictive HOAs. A new community often has governing HOA rules. Some of these are lenient while others can be very restrictive, even down to the color of siding allowed. This is important to consider if you want to one day build a pool, or need to park a work vehicle in your driveway.

Buying an existing home or building a new one is really up to the type of home you love. An old home can be made beautiful with time and money. New construction can often be more expensive upfront but will give you years of easy living. 

If you have any questions about the process of buying and renovating a home, or what it’s like to build a new home, please reach out. I’m always happy to help!


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