New vs. Resale Homes

Both newly built and resale homes offer significant, but very different advantages.

by NEA Member Benefits

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As you search for your dream home, you’ll probably hear a variety of opinions on whether you should purchase a newly built home or a resale home. There are advantages to both, and your individual needs—not the age of the structure—should be foremost in deciding which is best for you.

For a better idea of which type may be more suited to your needs, let’s look at the advantages of both new and resale homes.

Why buy a new home?

Perhaps you love the idea that you can be a home’s very first owner. Everything is new and shiny, the neighbors are probably also just moving in, and you can customize the floor plan and colors. Buying a new home can be fun and exciting. Here are some other advantages:

  • New homes are built with new materials and appliances, so less maintenance typically is required than with resale homes.
  • They often have more safety features and fewer health hazards because they conform to today’s building codes.
  • Many homebuilders offer warranties in case certain problems develop over time.
  • The home’s major appliances and systems also typically include manufacturers’ warranties.
  • They typically feature modern architecture and layout, such as great rooms, bigger closets and additional bathrooms, and do not include the formal dining and/or living rooms of older homes.
  • New homes usually are well-insulated due to better windows, more efficient heating and cooling equipment, and greater use of insulation.
  • The homes often are made with materials requiring less maintenance, such as aluminum siding, vinyl windows and pressure-treated wood decks that resist rot and insects.
  • They’re easier to customize than resale homes because you can choose many details upfront—from floor plans and paint colors to faucets and light fixtures.
  • New homes are more likely to be wired with new technologies in mind, such as multiple phone lines, high-speed Internet connections and extra cable outlets.

Why buy a resale home?

Housing styles have changed with time, and you might favor more traditional layouts and features. Older houses and neighborhoods may have more character and charm. The trees are full grown, and the neighbors can tell you all about your new hometown. Here are some other advantages:

  • Resale homes may provide more opportunities for home improvements.
  • They typically have more land than newer properties as a result of changes in land-use patterns.
  • The homes often are in older, more convenient metro areas rather than in outlying suburbs.
  • You can use the existing home as a base for building a unique property through modernization or expansion.
  • Resales tend to be less expensive than new properties and are more likely to come complete with items that may cost extra with a new home, such as blinds, landscaping, built-ins, etc.
  • Depending on the state, resale homes may have lower property tax rates.
  • Owners usually aren’t required to pay for the local bonds that are sometimes associated with new development, such as for schools, parks, or road or transportation improvements.
  • These homes often have more traditional layouts, which may include such areas as formal living and dining rooms.
  • Buyers most likely can purchase a larger home for the same money with a resale than with new construction.
  • Buyers often have more room for negotiating the price or terms of sale than with new homes.

As you can see, both offer significant, but very different advantages. Keep in mind that the real question shouldn’t be about whether to buy a new or used home. It’s more about figuring out which individual property will best meet your family’s needs.

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