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Should I Purchase a Brand New or Older Home?

There are pros and cons to buying a brand new construction home or a used/older/pre-owned home.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to help you decide which is best for you.

 

Is it better to buy a new home or an older home?photo courtesy of Bjørn Giesenbauer flickr.com/photos/giesenbauer/3407248026/Warranty
A new construction home generally comes with warranties, probably a 1 year to cover most anything other than general wear and tear and a 5 year warranty for structural defects.

You can get a 1 year warranty for an older home, but that needs to be negotiated in your contract and usually requires a small out of pocket expense (around $50 to $75) every time a repairman is called. 

If a major repair is needed, a used home warranty usually will require you pay 20%-50% of the total bill.

 

Safety
New construction is built to the latest codes and regulations.

The stair railings are the proper distance apart.

There are adequate air vents to remove moisture from the home in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

New homes follow the latest earthquake codes. 

Older homes were built to diferent standards.

 

No Repairs Needed
With a new home, everything is in near perfect condition.

There are no stains on the carpet or dings in the door.

There should be nothing requiring a major repair for about 5 years.

With an older home, the mechanical systems, roof, and kitchen appliances are usually not new, so they may need to be replaced sooner than a new home.

 

Electrical and Cabling
New home construction has modern wiring for the way we live today.

There is wiring to the windows and doors for a security system.

There is TV and internet cables throughout the home.

The electrical outlets are grounded 3 prong instead of 2 prong.

You may even get wiring for surround sound.

 

Energy Efficiency
New construction is more energy efficient.

There are double paned windows and new insulation.

You may even have a radiant barrier on your roof.

These new construction methods will lead to lower utility bills.

For an older home, you will probably need to add more insulation since insulation flattens over time.

You may even want to replace the windows for not only lower utility bills but for general comfort by keeping the temperature consistent throughout your home.

 

You Get What You Pay Extra For
With a new home, you can select exactly what you want in your home.

You can select the flooring, kitchen cabinets, countertops, front door, appliances, and everything in between.

Of coarse upgrades are how builders make their money, so you will pay a high price for every upgrade.

In an older home, you get what you get in its current condition.

 

Ceiling Height
Newer homes generally have at least a 9' ceiling height.

In older homes, the ceiling height is often only 8'.

The higher ceiling makes the home feel bigger, even though the square footage may be the same.

 

Cabinet Height
Newer homes often come with 42" high upper cabinets without a furrdown, but many older homes only have 30" high upper cabinets covered in a furrdown.

The kitchen size may be comparable in both homes, but the amount of storage you have is considerably less in a used home.

 

Charm and Character
A used home generally has charm and character.

It is quaint and possibly one of a kind.

A new home is generally all white, beige, or creme.

Your home looks very similar to all of your neighbors, but yours may have an extra bedroom and different colored countertops.

 

Location, Location, Location
A used home is generally located closer to the city center and has a larger lot.

New homes are generally located in the suburbs on a smaller lot.

 

Mature Landscaping
A used home has full lush landscaping with mature shade trees.

In new construction homes, you generally get 2 tiny trees in the front yard, a few small bushes, and grass in the front yard.

You'll be lucky to get grass in your backyard.

 

Extra Upgrades
Used homes generally come with extras.

These may include window coverings, upgraded light fixtures, garage door openers, fencing, knobs & pulls on cabinets, outside playsets for the kids, perhaps a hot tub, maybe an outdoor kitchen, and finished basements.

New homes do not normally come with window coverings.

The light fixtures offered by builders are usually the cheapest possible and exactly like everyone else's on your street.

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