Purchasing a home comes with many decisions, which leads to homebuyers often considering all their available options. While there are many home styles and features to consider, the first one is deciding whether to buy a new construction home or an existing home. Both options have pros and cons, so it’s important to understand those when choosing to build or buy a house.
Pros of Building a Home or Purchasing a New Construction
Whether opting for a custom-built home or purchasing a newly-built home, there are several benefits to buying a new construction.
Fresh and New
One of the major advantages of buying a newly-built home is that everything will be in pristine condition. You and your family will be the first to use the light switches, appliances, and everything. Having everything brand-new often gives homebuyers peace of mind.
Modern Floor Plan
New construction homes have designs that appeal to today’s buyers with updated floor plans that accommodate a more open floor plan with flexible rooms and embrace natural light. Also, if custom-building your home, you can further customize the floor plan to fit your way of living.
Speaking of customizations, many builders allow buyers to choose finishes, fixtures, and upgraded features if purchasing in the early construction stages. While some may not allow for structural changes, you’ll likely be able to choose paint colors, flooring, cabinets, and appliances.
With newer technology and numerous smart home systems, new construction homes have more energy-efficient design features than older homes.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Since all home systems and appliances are new, you’ll likely have lower maintenance costs during the first few years of homeownership because replacing major home systems is typically the most expensive maintenance expense when owning a home. In addition to worrying less about major repairs, your utility bills may be lower due to the increased energy efficiency of newer homes.
Builder Warranties Included
Home builders typically offer warranties on certain items, like materials and workmanship, plumbing, and electrical systems. You’ll also have the manufacturer’s warranty on all appliances and heat pumps.
Cons of Buying a New Construction
While buying a newly built home has benefits, there are a few reasons why some opt for purchasing an existing home instead.
Building a home takes time, and weather and material delivery issues can further delay the process. While finding a recently completed or nearly completed new construction can reduce the time between an accepted offer and move-in day, it’s still likely to be longer than buying an existing home.
Lack of Mature Landscaping
While brand-new everything is nice inside the house, new landscaping takes years to mature. Your home’s exterior may look bare for a while until grass and plants grow to bring life to the property.
A new construction project comes with many decisions, and the number of choices can be overwhelming for most people. From flooring and paint colors to light fixtures, builders often want your input on these decisions to ensure the completed home fits your style.
Potentially Higher Costs
With new construction home projects, an unforeseen increase in material costs or choosing upgrades can increase the home’s purchase price. You should also consider the expense of property enhancement items already included with established homes, such as fencing, finished basement, walkways, and porches.
Limited Negotiating Power
When purchasing new construction, builders or developers are less likely to negotiate a lower price. Although you may be able to negotiate certain features or upgrades, the listing price for new construction homes is usually firm.
Pros of Buying an Existing Home
If you want to make a quick move, buying an existing home may be the best option, along with these benefits.
If you have a short timeline to move into a home after receiving an accepted offer, most established homes are ready for you to move in on the closing day. You typically have a clear timeline between making an offer and moving into your new home, which makes scheduling movers and planning for the big day easier. The exception to this is when buying a home requiring extensive renovations before it’s ready to be made your own.
Existing homes are usually located in well-established areas with mature landscaping and amenities already in place. The sense of community among neighbors is also typically stronger in well-established neighborhoods, as many may have lived in their homes for several years.
With older homes and subdivisions, there has been plenty of time for plants and trees to thrive. Therefore, you can expect nice landscaping, only requiring routine upkeep. Also, the lot of established homes may be larger than the typical lot size of newer homes.
More Room for Negotiating
When homeowners decide to sell, they have a bottom dollar price in mind that they will accept. Therefore, there is often more room for negotiating to purchase an existing home lower than the list price. Even if the sellers are firm on the listing price, you can usually negotiate other terms, such as closing costs or repairs.
Customizing with Updates and Upgrades
While the home may not be brand-new, you can view it as a blank canvas to customize it with the updates to give an older home a modern refresh. Upgrading fixtures and outdated bathrooms and kitchens can greatly increase the home’s potential resale value when you’re ready to sell.
Cons of Purchasing an Existing House
While an existing home purchase may better fit your budget and moving plans, it’s important to remember these disadvantages.
Outdated Floor Plan
Older homes were designed to fit the needs and lifestyles of that time. So the floor plans may feel outdated or too formal for your tastes. Making changes to the floor plan of an existing home often requires major renovations, resulting in additional expenses to ensure the home works for you and your family.
Potential Higher Utility Costs
As technology improves, so do home systems and appliances. Older appliances and heating and cooling systems are often less energy efficient than today’s systems and fixtures. The combination of lower energy-efficient systems and lower-performing insulation or windows and doors can result in high utility bills.
Increased Risk of Repairs and Maintenance
As appliances, HVAC systems, and roofs age, the failure risk of these items increases. While repairs and maintenance come with being a homeowner, you may need to budget for these more often with older homes. Getting a home warranty can help ease your worries about certain appliances and systems breaking unexpectedly.
Deciding to build a home or purchase an existing home can be a hard decision, as each has its pros and cons. While your budget will often be a major determinant of which option is best for your needs, it’s important to look at all the advantages and disadvantages before purchasing a new construction or existing home.
Whether you are searching for land to build your new home or a home to purchase in SW Virginia or NE Tennessee, our agents can help. Let us know about your home buying plans below.