The economy is booming, companies are hiring more workers, and interest rates are still low. Now is the time to purchase a home. But what is more appealing to home buyers: new builds or resale homes that need a little TLC?
Each option has its pros and cons. Some buyers prefer new homes that offer more square footage, customizable features, and energy efficiency. Others want something unique, something that tells a story written over time. There’s no easy answer, but we’ve got some insight into why buyers choose one home over the other.
Why Homebuyers Choose New Builds
New homes have a definite draw to them: shiny, unused fixtures and appliances, freshly-painted walls, carpet that doesn’t have years of dust and dirt embedded in its fibers – the list goes on. Buyers can often customize homes to meet their preferences, making new builds an attractive option. However, new houses aren’t always as perfect as they seem.
Pros of New Construction:
- Energy efficiency. Building with environmentally friendly technology and materials can lower utility bills and make for a healthier planet. Green homes are improving every year. Purchasing a new build means getting the most modern and most energy-efficient home available. Amenities like geothermal heating, solar power, and low-water appliances can add up to significant savings over time.
- Lower maintenance costs, especially up front. Brand-new appliances, water heater, and air conditioning units mean you won’t have to worry about repairs or replacements for years to come.
- Customizable space. Many new homes allow the buyer to choose design elements like exterior brick and paint color, countertops, cabinet finishes, light fixtures, and more. Buyers are drawn to this ability to inject their own design preferences without having to do any costly renovations.
Cons of New Homes:
- Long waits. On average, it takes builders six months to complete a home in the United States. If a buyer’s lease is up and they need to move into a home in a few weeks, waiting for a new build could be a real problem.
- Ballooning costs. It’s fun to choose upgrades for a new home, but all those upgrades add up quickly. Adding extras like upgraded cabinets, appliances, and light fixtures can drive up the cost by thousands of dollars.
- Landscaping and fencing costs. Not all home builders include landscaping or fencing. Buyers have to consider both the time and the money it will take to finish a yard or build a sturdy fence if necessary.
Why Homebuyers Choose Resale Homes
Many home buyers think they want a shiny, new home. Zillow found that 38% of homebuyers added “new build” to their list of important features, but only 11% ended up buying a brand-new home. In the end, several factors steer buyers towards older, pre-owned homes.
The rise of popular television programs that idealize the fixer-upper have many buyers desiring a home with a history and a story. However, buyers should also consider important factors like repair and upkeep costs when considering a resale home.
Pros of Buying a Resale Home:
- Unique charm and character. Let’s face it: many new construction homes tend to favor the cookie-cutter model. Older homes show more variety of design, giving a flare that buyers just can’t find with new construction.
- More affordable. Pre-owned homes sell for thousands of dollars less than new builds, allowing buyers to get more house for their money.
- Larger lots and well-established landscaping. Older homes come complete with large shade trees, room to run, and established vegetation.
Cons of Older Homes:
- Potentially expensive maintenance and repairs. Older homes tend to need more attention and more work than their brand-new counterparts. With that charm and character, though, comes old wiring, plumbing, and heating. All those repairs can add up over time.
- Costly updates. An older home might require renovations to make it more modern. Improvements like kitchen or bathroom overhauls, replacing the carpet or other flooring, or modernizing the home’s layout could be expensive. Not all fixes need to be expensive, however. Sometimes, simple projects can make a tired home look fresh and new again.
- Less energy efficiency. Older homes lack modern technology and materials to save on energy costs. Improvements to make a home more energy efficient – like replacing windows or installing a tankless water heater – can cost thousands of dollars.
In the end, choosing new builds or resale homes comes down to a matter of preference. For some, the emotional appeal of a brand-new house clenches the deal. For others, the character and charm of an older home are too much to pass up. There’s no right or wrong answer, but informed buyers are more likely to be happy with their choice.