Buying a Home – New vs. Preowned

By Julie Russo

Is it better to buy a pre-owned (resale) home or a new home? There are pros and cons to think about with both purchases. Buying a newly built home is like buying a cupcake with frosting on it. With a new home, you know exactly what you are getting under the frosting. On the other hand, a resale home could be that same cupcake with frosting or it could possibly be something much less desirable dressed up to look like a cupcake. It’s up to each homebuyer to decide which to choose, but personally, I want the cupcake with frosting.

If a homebuyer chooses to purchase a new home, they have more options to choose from and a question to ask themselves: “am I ready to embrace my creative side?” If the answer is yes, they can start from the ground up and pick a lot, floorplan, features and options in the neighborhood where they would most like their new home built. Builders have lined up all the contractors, picked out great locations and have the design coordinator on standby. Also, many creative types have already developed a ‘baby book’ to chart the process of building their new home and nobody judges them. Everyone loves a baby, just sayin’.

If a homebuyer is not channeling their ‘creative animal’ at the point of purchase, or needs to move sooner than a new home can be built for them, they can buy a new home that is already built, sometimes referred to as “move-in ready.” There are some move-in ready homes that can still be personalized depending on the builder and buyer’s prerogative.

With a resale home, someone has already made the creative decisions for the buyer. Before a mortgage can be secured for the home, the buyer will need to get a termite inspection and the entire home will need to be inspected by a qualified home inspector. Any problems found by the home inspector will need to be repaired before the buyer closes. If the home has a septic system, the septic system will need to be inspected and tested by a qualified professional and the tank may need to be pumped.

Most buyers want to personalize a home once they buy it and fix or upgrade anything they don’t like about the home. Resale homes often need much more maintenance than a new home, so the homebuyers need to be prepared to spend several fun-filled weekends engaged in DIY projects or spend additional money to hire a contractor, have strangers in their home and be a temporary construction manager in order to get the home the way they want it. Resale home buyers should get cost estimates on any work they want done before purchasing the home to make sure their budget will allow for the improvements and maintenance of the home.

What about the money? Most people assume they will pay less for a resale home over a new home, however in the long run, that is often not the case.

With new construction the homebuyer controls the costs by choosing the plan, the features, the upgrades and the location or subdivision they have their home built in.   The new homebuyer will also have all the latest and greatest energy efficient building materials such as windows, appliances, insulation and heat and cooling systems. In the long run, the new homebuyer will save money every month because of the home’s efficiency. Another money-saving benefit of purchasing a new home is the new home warranty. Some builders even include an additional warranty in the purchase cost of the home that goes beyond a traditional new home warranty. 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty is an example of such a warranty. McKee Homes includes a full 2-10 warranty with all new homes, which covers the home’s systems for two years and the structure for a full 10 years.

In the end, it is up to each homebuyer to decide what is best for them. With new homes they get more input into having the home built the way they want it, they don’t have to spend every weekend doing projects and maintenance, they can rest easy knowing the home is covered by a new home warranty and they save money on energy costs every month. With a resale home, the initial cost may be lower, but until they purchase the home, they really don’t know for sure what’s under that frosting.

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McKee Homes online marketing manager

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3 thoughts on “Buying a Home – New vs. Preowned

  1. Any home is going to have its problems whether it is new or used. A home inspection will be the best way to determine that shape of the home and what repairs or maintenance is needed.

  2. Buying a brand new home sounds great, but it does not always prove to be the best investment. All of the bells and whistles look great, but there could be some serious issues that have been overlooked by the builder. An older home can provide proof that it is built well and has character. Both can be a good option. Each situation presents its own pros and cons.

    • That’s true Caleb, and a good reason to make sure you buy a home from a builder with a good reputation and customer service team if you do buy a new home. McKee Homes come with a 2-10 Warranty Program that protects systems for 2 years and structural components for 10 years. It’s a good idea to get a home warranty even if you decide to by a resale home, as even a qualified home inspector cannot always find every problem. New homes generally save money on utility bills over resale homes too, but with resale homes you often get mature landscaping that you generally don’t get with a new home. In the end it’s up to each individual to pick the neighborhood and home that they feel suits their family’s needs best.

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