Buying a New or Old Home :: Which is Right for You?

Which is better, a new or old home? Either option has its perks and its drawbacks, as does every home—be it a charming old Victorian or a newly constructed ranch house. The choice is a matter of personal preferences and priorities, but there are some points all homebuyers should consider before deciding which route to take.

Advantages of buying NEW:

  • Customization. In many cases, you’ll have the chance to be a part of the building process from the ground up. Many components of new constructions are open for personalization. YOU have a say in the end product.
  • Choice in location. If you get in on the project early enough, you can usually have a say in the location of your home within the neighborhood or subdivision.
  • Energy efficiency/low energy costs. New homes must be built to meet today’s energy standards. That means energy efficient appliances, plumbing, wiring, and construction, which in turn means lower energy costs for you. You can get financial support from if you need one.
  • Low maintenance. In theory, a new construction filled with new appliances will require fewer repairs and upgrades in the near future.
  • Modern design and features. Newer homes tend to feature open floor plans, large windows, bigger rooms, and other features that are popular with and make sense to home buyers today.
  • That new home feel. It’s exciting knowing that you are the first to ever own or live in your home—you get the unique opportunity to be part of the home’s history from the very beginning.

Disadvantages of buying NEW:

  • Construction issues. Just because a house is new does not mean it’s well-built. The quality of a home’s construction depends on its builders, and with financing becoming more and more difficult to come by, some builders are having to cut corners and use cheaper materials.
  • The wait. In most cases you will have to wait for months before your new home is move-in ready. For many people that means moving into transitional housing in the interim, which can be a big hassle.
  • Higher cost. A newly constructed home typically costs about 20 percent more than a comparable resale home.
  • Limited negotiation room. A builder negotiates from a purely business-minded, financial standpoint, which leaves less of a chance for you to talk down the price.
  • Cookie-cutter design. Though home builders tend to offer options for customization in the details of a new home, they usually start from a template that’s been used many times before and will be used many times after, often for homes in the same neighborhood.


Advantages of buying RESALE:

  • Quality and character. The craftsmanship and quality construction of older homes is incredibly expensive and nearly impossible to recreate today. Not to mention that the character and quirkiness that comes with a house with history is simply something you can’t find in a newly constructed home.
  • Availability. There are more resale homes on the market to choose from, and once purchased you can usually move in right away. No wait. No transitional housing necessary.
  • Better deals. Resale homes typically start out at lower prices than their newly constructed counterparts, and you have better luck getting a bargain or considerable concessions from a seller than from a builder.
  • Track record. In the case of an older, well-maintained home, many upgrades and repairs will have already been made by the time you come into the picture. By now the home’s strengths are well established, its weaknesses known.
  • Established neighborhoods. An older, well-maintained home in a well-maintained neighborhood that has retained its value over the years is very likely to continue holding its value.

Disadvantages of buying RESALE:

  • Old construction/safety/energy standards. Older homes were built to the standards of the year in which they were constructed, not today’s. Oftentimes this can lead to issues with plumbing, wiring, and energy efficiency.
  • The negotiations can get personal. Unlike a builder of a newly constructed home, a seller likely has emotional ties to the house and may see it as being worth more that it actually is. This can lengthen the negotiation process, creating more stress for you.  
  • Costly renovations. Depending on how much work has already been done on the house, and how comfortable you are with DIY projects, fixing up a resale home can turn into a costly affair. A home that seemed like a steal in the beginning may end up costing just as much as a comparable, newly-constructed home. Mentally, you should include the cost of any renovations you envision for the house in the home’s overall cost, and negotiate accordingly.

Whichever route you take, avoid falling head over heels for a home too soon. Get the facts and do your best to see your prospective home’s reality as critically and objectively as possible—that’s where we can help. For a professional home inspection, give us a call anytime at 270-933-7242.