Buying resale vs new built home

Most of my buyer clients ask one and the same question – what is better to buy, a new built home or resale? As a realtor my business is to help homebuyers to find an answer on their own. It is not that difficult when you know what to start with. Buyers have to answer some questions that prioritize their preferences.

Question #1: think about your lifestyle and decide what is more important for you – a house or neighbourhood. If a modern design, open layout, huge walk-in closets and luxury ensuites are something that you cannot imagine your new home, then probably a new built home fits more your expectations. If you are looking for tree-lined streets, well-established community of neighbors, neighbourhoods with lots of social events, firework celebrations, then you have to look for a home in a resale market.

Question #2: think about your budget. Different costs will be involved in purchasing an older versus a new home. Resale homes are typically less expensive to buy. Brand new home costs around 20% more than a similar existing home. But you have to remember about repairs and maintenance an older home may require soon. Some of the repairs cannot be delayed. Certainly, with new home you will need to build a new deck or patio, new fence, to install a new driveway, to invest into landscaping. But this is something that can be done later. I would not talk now about HST that must be paid on new constructed homes as usually it is hidden in a purchase price.

Question #3: think about your moving date. While a closing date is specific day when you buy a resale home, we cannot require guarantee like this from home-builders. Don’t be surprised if your move-in date is delayed. It can be a serious disadvantage for some buyers.

Question #4: think about proximity to amenities. There is a reason why areas with newly built homes are called subdivisions, not neighborhoods. There is no infrastructure in place in a new subdivision – no parks, no schools, and no shopping malls. No trees, no vegetation. New subdivisions have lowest Walk Score, and you are totally car dependent. Choosing a new built home, you are going to be living in a construction zone for years to come. Some people are OK with this, some not. This is for you to decide.

Question #5: think how important is privacy for you. If you are looking for a big backyard, and lots of space between your house and the next door neighbours, you will not find it in a new built home (unless you have 1mln + budget for your purchase). New homes are built on much smaller lots that older homes.