Should I Buy a New or Existing Home? We Break Down the Pros and Cons

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For a homebuyer, it’s an age-old question: Do I buy a new home (or even build one from the ground up) or do I stick with a tried-and-true existing home?

As with anything, there are pros and cons to both buying a new or existing home. Existing homes can often save you money — though that’s not always true — and new homes tend to be safer, that is if you get an inspection every step of the way.

The truth is, both home buying options have their advantages, and both have their downsides. Not sure which choice is right for you? We break it down after the jump.


Cost

Existing homes are typically going to come with a lower listing price, but it’s important to look deeper than that. These properties also often require lots of repairs, maintenance, and upkeep, and they may be much less energy-efficient than a newer model. Be sure to look at long-term costs, as well as the up-front price tag.

Amenities, appliances, and features

New homes will usually come with the latest appliances, as well as current upgrades and features that are hot in today’s real estate market. With existing homes, there’s a higher chance those features are a bit older, but don’t let that get you down; many homeowners remodel their properties over the years. There’s a chance the home you’re looking at could have upgrades all over! Just make sure you have a qualified home inspector look it over first.

Safety

In general, newer homes will be built with the latest tools, materials, and construction practices, and overall they’ll be safer than a more worn-in home. But don’t assume a new home is hazard-free. Many builders will cut corners along the way, so if you’re buying new, make sure to invest in a good home inspector. If you’re building from the ground up, you can even opt for phase inspections, which evaluate your property every step of the way to ensure the utmost safety.

Warranties

Most new homes are going to come with a one-year builder warranty, which means they’ll come out, make repairs and fix select items during the first year you live there. This can be a big help if something goes awry, but if your home was built right, you shouldn’t need it. Remember — you can also buy home warranty policies for existing homes. Just ask your real estate agent for recommendations.

Availability

For the most part, there are going to be more existing homes on the market than new homes. This makes newer homes more difficult (and expensive) to buy, and it means they sell faster. If you need a home on a quick turnaround, an existing home may be right up your alley.

Negotiating room

With existing homes, you’re dealing with someone who has specific motivations for selling that home and moving on. Maybe they need to get to a new city for a job, or maybe they have a financial issue and need to cash in. Either way, that means there’s wiggle room on the price. You may be able to get repairs covered, closing costs waived and even a lower listing price if you ask just right!

Character

If you’re looking for something with a little character, a newer home probably isn’t your best choice. Most new homes are cookie-cutter, designed to fit in homogeneously with the homes and real estate around them. If you want something different — a home with more distinct features or a unique layout or look — an existing home may be a better option.

Need more help on your home search? Head to Guardian Mortgage Company. With more than 50 years in the business, they can help you finance the home of your dreams in no time.

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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  1. dormand says

    A common problem in the purchase of durable goods is that there is a tendency among less well managed
    manufacturers/builders to slack up on quality controls when output is purchases the instant it is finished.

    This scenario was the death knell of once mighty General Motors, which had difficulty keeping up with orders
    until its bean counters cam up with the innovative idea that they could cut back drastically on quality control and put those people to work assembling cars.

    After we had both a Chevy custom van and a Buick station wagon which had problems that GM refused to fix,
    we made the transformation from GM Only buyers to Never a GM.

    Life has been great and much simpler since then.

    Life is too short to endure avoidable; grief.

    If you want to see a tale of true abuse to customers by a home builder, Google Perry Homes and the Midlothian couple who bought their retirement home from Perry. Perry had made political donations to each and every politician who might ever judge on his business.

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