Your gut is right – it’s always better to buy new.
New vs. old is always a hot conversation when it comes to the home buying process. Ask any of your family and friends, and you’ll probably get a variety of different opinions. Some say that buying new construction from a home builder is a waste of money, and used homes are just as good. Others say they are the better choice. The rest… well, they couldn’t talk because they’re too busy renovating their used home.
- They are built to last.
- Energy efficiency? You bet.
- A home warranty give you peace of mind.
- Location, location, location.
- Make an investment.
- Hey, they’re just newer.
To make matters worse, cities are filled with so many different options. New properties and amenities are popping up all over the place in growing neighbourhoods. It’s hard to visualize where you’d fit in and what would best suit your lifestyle. Endlessly scrolling through listings and researching what’s nearby is enough to make your head spin.
It’s enough to drive you to build a home from scratch.
If you’re looking for a new place to live or an investment property, it’s worth considering a new home. You’ll get everything you were looking for but couldn’t find in the resale market, plus the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re covered by guarantees.
New homes have plenty of features that make them better than existing homes. Top notch energy-efficiency, brand new appliances, the latest in modern designs, customizable fixtures and quality guarantees are all major benefits that you just won’t find if you buy an existing home.
While the charm and character of that 1920’s Art Deco style home you’ve been eyeing is appealing, it might be worth remembering that lead-based paint was used in homes up until the late 1960’s and asbestos wasn’t banned as a building material until 1989. It seems crazy now, but for a long time these dangerous materials were considered the gold standard in home-building materials. Many homes built before the 1990’s still contain asbestos somewhere in the structure.
Thankfully, we learn from our mistakes, and building standards have come a long way since then.
The construction industry is constantly evolving based on the latest innovations in materials and building methods. While legacy homes used materials that were sometimes dangerous in the long-term and were only estimated to last for decades, newer homes use tested materials that are estimated to last centuries. As building codes update to keep homeowners safe, so do the techniques used to build new.
Concrete foundations, modern insulation, timber frames and tile floors can all last more than 100 years without needing to be replaced. Most brand-new modern appliances will last more than 10 years as well.
This can be a huge relief for anyone who’s not looking to do any major renovations or replacements any time soon. Doing repairs in resale homes simply to replace outdated and decaying material can become costly and frustrating.
To learn more about why new construction homes are built to last longer than their predecessors, click through the timeline below.
New construction homes are more energy efficient
One of the most common complaints about older homes is that they’re too cold in the winters and too hot in the summers, no matter how high you crank the furnace or air conditioner. The culprits for this problem are often old windows and insulation.
Don’t write those drafty windows off as just a quirk of an old home. Cold toes aren’t the only problem for homeowners who find themselves in this situation. Those seemingly innocent air leaks can be a nightmare for your hydro bills as your furnace and air conditioning suck up more energy to heat and cool your home. Depending on the age and condition of your heating and cooling systems, the appliances themselves might be costing you more in hydro than newer, more energy efficient units.
Drafty windows and poor insulation can also affect your health. According to this article from The Washington Post, air leaks can lead to reduced air quality, pest infestation and mold from moisture buildup – all things that no homeowner wants to deal with.
“If you have a drafty home, you’re exposing yourself to a lot of outside elements,” says Eddie Zielinski, a Lowe’s store manager in Harper Woods, Mich.
Drafts can reduce air quality inside your home, let water in (creating a potential mold problem) and lead to pest infestation.
“There can be a domino effect depending on the size and location of the openings,” Zielinski says.
Thankfully, these homes are far more energy-efficient and better sealed from the elements than their predecessors – allowing you to save money, time and get a better night’s sleep.
While any home can be upgraded to become energy efficient, newer homes are that way already. Modern construction standards optimize energy efficiency by default, and new homes are constructed using better building materials than homes of the past. Many have built-in eco-friendly features like energy-efficient appliances and integrated geothermal heating. If these aren’t a part of the original plans, you have the option to ask your builder to include them.
New construction homes come with warranties
Nothing’s worse than moving into a new space and suddenly realizing something is definitely, seriously wrong. Maybe the roof needs to be replaced, or the heating and cooling systems are older than you realized.
Every moving process has a period where you start noticing all the quirks that you didn’t see in the showings. But you’ve already spent a significant amount of money on buying your home, and the last thing you want to do is uncover an issue that you weren’t prepared to pay for.
This is where they are a lifesaver. Most new homes come with promises that cover things like defects in work, materials and major structural items. They’re a really important part of the buying process and can often be the difference between a good and bad home ownership experience.
Some cover more than just the standard package, so make sure to ask your builder what’s included.
New construction homes are often built in better locations
You might have heard the term “up and coming neighbourhood” a few times in your search for a new house. But what makes a neighbourhood up and coming? The answer is new construction.
Developers aren’t just building homes wherever they find space. A lot of careful planning goes into new communities, which often puts new homes in close proximity to schools, grocery stores, public transit and retail corridors.
Parks, recreational facilities, playgrounds and outdoor seating areas are common in new development planning. These life-enriching features are why most new communities have homeowner’s associations (HOA). While HOA’s add slightly to the annual cost of living in a new development, the fees often go into maintaining common areas around the neighbourhood.
According to Florida-based realtor Jim Woelkers, location is one of the most important considerations in the home-buying process.
“Location is a really big deal when it comes to choosing a home,” he said. “It’s not just about aesthetic – it’s about finding a place that suits your lifestyle. You might fall in love with a house, but if it’s too far from the things you have going on in your life, ultimately it’s probably not the right place for you.”
New homes can be customized to your specific needs
Maybe you’ve been dreaming of having a bathtub that’s deep enough to let the water cover your shoulders and your knees while you relax in the bubbles. Maybe the chef of the family has their heart set on marble countertops and a six-burner gas stove. The only problem is that you just can’t find those features in any pre-owned homes on the market.
Pre-owned homes might not have some of the features you’re looking for and adding them into a home with a pre-existing design flow can get expensive.
New homes are easily customizable to suit your style preferences. Many developments have design teams that work with buyers to choose the finishes of the home while it’s still in the construction phase. This means you get to plan your home around your lifestyle, and on move-in day it will already be suited to meet your needs.
“Everybody has a checklist of items that they really want from a home,” said Woelkers. “In the pre-owned market, we’re seeing people get something that might only check half the boxes. In new homes you get to be picky about those things. You get to pick out your own selections and make the house more yours.”
It’s an extra special experience that makes a home really, truly feel like yours. You’ll never have to compromise by living with kitchen cabinetry you don’t love, or lament not putting a window seat in when you had the chance. Years down the road you’ll be able to look at those small details and know they weren’t built for anyone else but you.
New homes are a great investment
Remember the previous point about new homes being built in better neighborhoods? Those nearby schools, grocery stores and transit routes mean your home will be even more attractive to other buyers if you choose to sell in the future. Homes with new appliances and modern features in up-and-coming areas typically appreciate in value over time. Thankfully, these are all benefits that you can expect from a new home.
Jed Smith talks about the benefits of new home appreciation in this Youtube video.
While your home may not be brand-new by the time you decide to sell, it will still have most of the same appeal to potential buyers that it had to you. Homes that have only had one previous owner are often still in good condition. Appliances still have some life left, damages won’t have accumulated as much as older homes and the chain of ownership is easier to understand.
New construction homes make great investment properties, too. If you decide to use your new construction home as a rental property, you likely won’t have to deal with the increased maintenance costs that it typically takes to keep an older home in good condition.
New construction homes just feel ‘new’
“Typically speaking, if you can get in the early phases of a development then you know you can get the benefit of appreciation as new developments are built in that community,” he said. “A lot of the times new construction is nice because you get the benefits of them continuing to build it out.”While your home may not be brand-new by the time you decide to sell, it will still have most of the same appeal to potential buyers that it had to you. Homes that have only had one previous owner are often still in good condition. Appliances still have some life left, damages won’t have accumulated as much as older homes and the chain of ownership is easier to understand.
New homes make great investment properties, too. If you decide to use your new build home as a rental property, you likely won’t have to deal with the increased maintenance costs that it typically takes to keep an older home in good condition.
New build homes just feel ‘new’
Sometimes, new just feels better. From fresh paint to brand new appliances, new construction homes give you a clean slate feeling that just can’t be found in a pre-owned home.
According to Builder Magazine, one of the top reasons why millennials love new is because…. Well, they’re new. No one else has lived there, which makes the home feel like a blank canvas to decorate with your own memories.
“The simplest reason [for choosing a new home] was that the home is ready to be lived in,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist for Zonda. “There’s nothing like walking into a house that nobody else has slept in and with a kitchen that doesn’t have the smell of thousands of previous meals baked into the walls.”
The smell of a thousand cooked dinners isn’t the only thing that might be living in the walls of a pre-owned home.
Nearly a quarter of Americans claim to have lived in a haunted house. While it’s relatively easy to call a plumber and ask them to fix a leaky drain, ghosts aren’t really something the average contractor will know how to fix.