New Construction vs. Buying A Home

There’s a strong case for and against both buying a new home and building your own. It truly comes down to the individual to decide which pros outweigh which cons for their particular needs and wants. So let’s get into the good stuff.


Pros of New Construction

  • When you buy a home that someone else built, there will inevitably be something about the house that isn’t set up quite like you want it. Whether it’s the layout of some cabinets or the size of the bathroom. Needless to say, if you build it, you’re responsible for anything you don’t like.
  • EVERYTHING is new. In a new home, you don’t have to worry about a roof that might need replacing in a couple of years or a water heater that’s about to drop dead. More often than not, your first few years after moving in will be relatively maintenance free, which can offer serious peace of mind.
  • New standards and construction methods work to your benefit. Older homes have older, less efficient windows and appliances. You’ll likely have improved indoor air quality and better insulation. Over the course of a year, this can save you thousands of dollars.
  • New homes are built with the latest and greatest in safety standards. Furnaces and air conditioning units will all contain the latest and greatest in terms of safety equipment, and the materials your home is built with will certainly be without any potentially harmful compounds like lead paint.

Pitfalls of New Home Construction
If you’ve ever hired anyone to build anything, you’ve probably experienced the displeasure of things not working out quite as you’ve planned. Talk to a group of people who’ve built their own homes, and you’ll likely find some people who would tell you to just go ahead and buy an existing home. Here are some popular reasons for this viewpoint.

  • Building a home is a big project. Even with a great contractor, with a project the size of a home, costs have a tendency to creep. This can come from rising material costs, delays or even things beyond anyone’s control like inclement weather. You’re paying for materials, time and labor, and there are a lot of variables that can cause your cost to slip beyond what you’re comfortable with, or worse, able to afford.
  • If you’re moving out of an existing home that you’ve sold you’re probably on a tight timeline. If you’re on a tight budget, be aware that delayed construction can cost you all kinds of additional funds as you move your belongings into storage and get temporary housing while you wait for your new home to be finished.
  • If you live in an urban area, you’ll realize that your options for a new construction project anywhere near a city center are slim to none. So if you’re hoping to maintain your urban lifestyle, either be prepared to pay an exorbitant amount or come to terms with a life in the suburbs.
  • Many new homes are built in development areas, which are surrounded by other new homes going up. If this is the case for your new home, expect to have to deal with the noise and clutter of non-stop new construction. Figure out which camp you’re in and ask about the timing and expected amount of new developments before you put your money down on your new construction.

Why Buying an Existing Home is the Right Choice
So we’ve seen the pros and cons of building a new home, so what about buying an existing home? Here’s the low down on why you might find that buying a house could be right for you.

  • Particularly in a poor housing market, you’ll make substantial savings on similarly sized older homes than you would on new construction. There are incredible deals on the market that can save you all kinds of money. If you’re patient, there’ a good chance you can find an excellent value when buying an existing home.
  • If you’ve ever talked to someone who has had their basement finished, or their bathroom remodeled, you’ve likely heard a lot of complaining about how much work it is, how much time it takes and how frustrating it can be. Now, imagine that’s your home, and rather than dealing with a single room or floor of the home, you’re instead dealing with every detail of every room in the entire home. A used home that’s “move in ready” can severely decrease the headache of remodeling.
  • It’s a clich√©, but they really don’t make them like they used to. When it comes to materials used in building homes, for the most part, it’s of a lower quality than it was decades ago. On top of that, the level of craftsmanship isn’t what it used to be either. While you can go to many cities and see 75+-year-old homes in great shape, it’s shocking to see how many homes built in the last decade already suffering from serious issues like cracks in the foundation.

Chapter 2: There’s a Reason it’s Getting Sold
Yes, there are some good reasons to buy a new home, but there can also be some major drawbacks. Let’s go over a few of those now.

  • Home layouts and designs get dated quickly. Yes, you can drop some money and remodel a lot of things about older homes. However, some things can’t be fixed. An older design might require enormous costs to update¬†or may be impossible to bring up to date to a more current open floor plan. Similarly, finished basements can also be a big draw, and older homes with older construction methods tend to have lots of load-bearing beams that can hurt site lines and the usability of the space. As an investment, these elements could hurt the future resale value.
  • Even with the world’s best inspector, you can’t always find every issue with an older home. A new construction will come with a warranty which can limit your fears of damage and high costs.
  • Older neighborhoods with older homes may hurt your resale value. New construction tends to be surrounded by new construction while older homes tend to be surrounded by other older homes. Typically, you’ll have a much greater chance of pricing variability for older homes. New construction has a tendency to increase in value. So, as an investment, there’s some risk taken on with many older homes.

About the Author: Inigo is a guest contributor from JobFlex, an invoice and estimates app for contractors that makes invoicing for construction jobs simpler.

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