New vs. Existing Homes: Which Should You Buy?

If you’re considering the purchase of a home, you have one big decision to make as you get started, to narrow down your search. You have to decide whether you’ll buy a new home or an existing property. There are pros and cons to each, and you have to weigh them carefully during the decision-making process.

It used to be at one point that buying a new house was almost always going to be more expensive than an older house. Buying materials for new construction is less expensive now than in the past, so price alone isn’t necessarily a determinant or at least the primary determinant for many people.

What Are the Upsides of Buying an Older House?

Some of the benefits of buying an existing, older home might include:

What About the Downsides of an Older Home?

Buying an older home isn’t all about the dreamy craftsmanship and charm. There are some very real downsides you have to think about. Examples include:

What Are the Pros and Cons of New Construction?

If you go with new construction, some of the benefits include the lack of maintenance you’re likely going to need to worry about, as well as the fact that these homes come with modern features that make life easier. For example, a new construction home is probably going to have a built-in dishwasher, wiring for electronics and even features like wine coolers.

Some new construction homes even come with a builder’s warranty. For example, if you’re buying in California, the builder is required to provide a 10-year warranty.

Newer homes are more energy-efficient, so you can be more eco-friendly and save money on heating and cooling.

A new home is going to be built to current code, and when you buy a new home, it feels like yours instantly, rather than carrying the emotional baggage of people who have lived in it before.

Finally, the downsides of new construction include the fact that sometimes these homes lack warmth, charm, or uniqueness. If you buy in a neighborhood with tract homes, every home is going to look essentially the same.

The trees and yards in these neighborhoods aren’t mature, and you might be looking at a lot of dirt during construction.

Your commute time may be longer since newer neighborhoods often aren’t close to downtowns or city centers, and new homes settle meaning you might notice cracks in your walls, door frames, and even your foundation.

There are obviously pros and cons of either option, and you have to find the home that works for you. Some people think they want one thing and then realize when they start searching that it’s not right for them. For example, you might think you want a charming older home, but as you begin your search and you start calculating the cost of upkeep, you realize you’re not ready for that.