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New Home vs Old Home: Should You Opt for Resale or New Construction?

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New Home vs Old Home: Should You Opt for Resale or New Construction?


In the first quarter of 2019, 64.8 percent of Americans were homeowners. This rate has steadily increased in recent years, with an incredible 701,000 homes sold in 2019 alone. If you are ready to make the leap into homeownership, know you are far from alone.

A lot of consideration goes into purchasing your first home. One of the biggest questions people have is whether they should buy a new construction or a resale.

This question is a personal one; however, understanding both the pros and cons of each home type can help you make the best decision for your family. Continue reading to learn more about the debate of a new home vs old home.

Buying New Construction Homes

Many first-time homebuyers like the idea of purchasing new construction homes simply because they are brand new. Nobody has lived in them before, and the memories are all yours to make, and there is nothing wrong with this.

Like any major purchasing decision, however, it is best to understand both the pros and cons of new construction homes. While they make the perfect choice for some soon-to-be homeowners, they are not the right choice for everyone.

Pros of New Homes

New homes usually come with modern appliances and amenities. This is one of the most significant selling points of a newly built home. Modern appliances and amenities a new home usually comes with includes:

  • Dishwasher
  • Washer and dryer
  • Central heat and air
  • Master suite with a private bathroom
  • New fridge and stove

There are other things a new home might come with that you will not ever find in traditional old homes. Of course, if the old houses are being sold after being updated, it is possible to get the best of both worlds. A few additional amenities you might find in a new construction include:

  • Home gym
  • Media rooms
  • Offices
  • Smart home integration
  • Hot tubs or pools

Although they are the most significant selling point of new homes, modern appliances and amenities are not the only ones. These homes are always built to code and require no immediate updates upon purchase. They are also significantly more energy-efficient than traditional older homes.

New construction homes tend to feature more square feet of space for the house itself versus older homes. The rooms tend to be larger, and new homes usually have more storage closets throughout the home. Extra rooms you would not typically find in older homes also contribute heavily to the larger overall square feet.

Cons of New Homes

New construction homes are not all sunshine and rainbows. They have a distinct set of downsides that may tip the scales in favor of old houses for specific purchasers. The most significant downsides include lack of originality, smaller properties, and inconvenient neighborhood placement.

New homes tend to be very cookie cutter. Many different architectural styles were used in the past, and (with a smaller population) more custom details were added. To make construction more cost-effective and timely, most modern companies streamline the process by creating similar homes throughout a neighborhood.

The homes built today may be bigger, but it is often at the sacrifice of outdoor space. Homes without yards are not uncommon with new constructions. When they do have yards, they tend to be tiny enough to limit utilization possibilities.

A big downside that few new homebuyers consider is home settling. All homes settle as the soil shifts and the earth moves beneath them. While expected, this can cause a few significant issues for new constructions.

Older homes have already done a considerable amount of settling. This means any major potential issues are (mostly) negated.

New homes have yet to settle. As they do, this can cause significant structural damage over the first decade or two of your homeownership. Cracks in the foundation, walls, and door frames are not altogether uncommon.

Buying Resale Homes

Owning a small piece of history is a big selling point for many buyers hoping to purchase a resale home. Older homes tend to have more charm than their new construction counterparts, but they also have a few significant downsides. It is essential to understand both the ups and downs of buying resale before making a purchase.

Pros of Old Homes

Old-world construction and charm make for more character in older homes when compared to new builds. You are also likely to find architectural touches that are not used in more modernly built homes. From elegant arches to hand-carved wooden detailing and breath-taking stained glass windows, old homes have you covered.

Another huge benefit for outdoor lovers is that older homes generally have much larger yards with mature trees and vegetation. It is rare to find new constructions with more than half an acre plot, but older homes can routinely be seen with an acre or more of land. This is perfect for barbecues, birthday parties, swing sets, and more.

Established neighborhoods with longer-term neighbors benefit those wishing to know what to expect from their surroundings. Many older homes are passed down through generations. When your neighbor leaves, it is likely their next-of-kin will move in.

Plus, these neighborhoods tend to resist unseemly changes. An adult film store or seedy bar is not likely to get approved for zoning. The families who have established the community are highly likely to push back on such drastic alterations.

Since resale homes have been around longer, they also tend to take up the prime real estate. Even when located in more rural areas, these homes are often located closer to stores, banks, and other necessities. Newer homes tend to be less conveniently located because the "good spaces" are already taken.

Cons of Old Homes

Older homes have a distinct set of downsides that may be too much for some people. The biggest downside? A resale will likely require significantly more financial investments over the long run.

Not only will more long-term maintenance be required, but some initial investments may be required. Outdated plumbing and wiring in older homes often use more expensive materials and costs more than repairs in a newer home. Updating the HVAC unit, historic kitchen, and long-withstanding bathroom may also be necessary.

Although the yards may be bigger, the overall square foot on older homes tends to be smaller. You will not likely get modern appliances like dishwashers, and the garage or closet space will probably be smaller. Unless you can convert a bedroom, an older home is not likely to have an office, media room, or home gym.

New Home vs Old Home: A Quick Comparison

There is no universally right or wrong answer for the debate on a new home vs old home. It boils down to personal preferences, individual situations, and what is currently available. If you are having difficulties deciding, there are a few general suggestions on determining which is the right choice for you.

A new construction home may be best if:

  • Modern appliances are a must for you
  • You work from home and need the extra office space
  • You value more indoor space over a larger yard
  • Amenities like central heat and air conditioning is something you refuse to compromise on

An older resale home may be best if:

  • Unique architecture is at the top of your want list
  • You value a large yard over more indoor space
  • You do not mind making updates in the kitchen, bathroom, etc. as needed
  • A convenient location is not something you will compromise on
  • A lack of storage areas or smaller closets does not bother you

Protecting Yourself No Matter Which Home You Buy

Whether you choose new construction or a resale, you must protect yourself from a poor investment. Even in today's uncertain world, there are many ways you can do this.

Besides a thorough home inspection before purchase, you want to ensure the home is something you can see yourself in for years or even decades to come. Attending virtual open houses and taking 3D home tours are a great way to do this. It also ensures that, should you decide to tour a home in-person later, you are limiting your contact with others by narrowing down your options early on.

Do You Have More Questions About Buying a New Home vs Old Home?

There is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether to buy a new home or an old home. It all boils down to which one would suit you best. No matter which home type you choose, be sure to protect your investment with the tips offered above.

Do you have more questions about buying a new home vs old home? Or would you like to see what homes are currently available in your area?

Check out our blog posts for more information on home buying. Or, you can search for homes listed in your area on our website.