When starting your home buying journey, you may be surprised at the number of potential homes that meet your criteria. Through a process that includes online research, virtual tours, and making appointments to tour homes in person, you’ll eventually arrive at the home where your story will begin. But, with one decision you can cut down on hours of research and house hunting: building a new home vs. buying an old house.
Maybe you’re into fresh and brand new, or maybe you’re into vintage charm. Take our homebuyer personality quiz to see if you are better suited for building vs. buying.
Are you handy around the house?
a – I’m ready to tackle a few home improvement projects, no problem.
b – I’m ready to tackle weekends on the couch.
Depending on the age of the home you buy, your weekends might soon be taken up by with all the maintenance items that will be necessary for an older home. You may need to re-stain the deck, clean out the gutters, tackle some long-neglected landscaping, or take care of a leaky basement.
And that’s just your time! You also need to consider the costs that go into making updates and repairs to an older home. Budget $7,000 for a new roof, $4,000 for an upgraded HVAC system, and $5,000 for a houseful of new windows.
When you build a new home, however, you have 10-15 years (or more) ahead of you before you need to put in the time and money to make any of these large scale home improvements.
Are you troubled by germs?
a – A thorough deep-cleaning and we’ll be ready to move in
b – I’m going to need all new toilets, sinks, carpets, and anything anyone has ever touched!
When debating on building a new home vs. buying an old house, the “never lived in before” feeling of a new home often wins out. Unless you want to spend the first few days in your new home scrubbing showers, washing down walls, or ripping out toilets, a newly built home may be the best option when cleanliness is a top priority on your “must have” list. Carpets that have never been walked on and kitchens that haven’t absorbed the smells of burnt meals have a definite appeal.
Are you style conscious?
a – I can look past old wallpaper, worn out carpets, and brass light fixtures – for now!
b – I am not moving into a home with THAT color paint on the walls!
Why should you have to live with someone else’s preferences in flooring, paint color, countertop material, or lighting fixtures? Shouldn’t your new home be a reflection of your personal taste? Sure, most cosmetic issues can easily be changed, but when the bulk of your budget has gone towards purchasing your home, you may find yourself living with these questionable style choices for much longer than you’d like.
In contrast, the home building process includes a visit to your builder’s design gallery where you can choose all the custom finishes you want your home to include. From siding and shutters to faucets and countertops, to paint and hardwoods, make sure your new home is perfectly “you!”
Have you gone green?
a – I recycle, reduce, and reuse.
b – I drive a hybrid car, started a compost pile, and replaced every old lightbulb in my house.
One of the biggest downfalls when choosing an older home over building a new home is that older houses tend to be very energy- inefficient and bringing them up to green living standards can be quite costly! Upgrading insulation, heating and cooling systems, water heaters, and appliances, along with adding a programmable thermostat and lighting, may all end up on your “to do” list. And, while those changes will certainly save you money on your energy bills going forward, in a brand new house you can enjoy green living and the savings that come with it, from day one!
Do you have unique space needs?
a – I just need four bedrooms, three baths, and a finished basement.
b – That’s all I need too. Oh, plus a mudroom, bonus room, and breakfast nook!
When you start viewing images of potential homes online or visiting them in person, one thing will quickly become clear: older homes were built with defined spaces and rooms that served basic living purposes (bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, etc.). A home built 100 years ago probably won’t feature a mudroom, and home builders in 1970 had no reason to add “bonus rooms.” And, don’t even get us started on the startling lack of closet space!
The way families live has changed throughout the decades. Now, families want open living spaces with clear lines of sight where they can congregate and spend time. Building a new home vs. buying an old house gives you the opportunity to select a floor plan that fits all of your needs — floor plans that are designed to be “liveable” with thoughtful use of space.