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Should I Buy a New Construction Home or a Resale Home?

Are you trying to decide whether to buy a new construction home or a resale home?  While it depends on your specific goals and needs, there are advantages to both.  Consider these 4 reasons before deciding which is right for you.

 Four Reasons to Consider Buying a New Construction Home

  1. Customization: If you want to be creative, need specific floor plans or want certain design features and colors personalized to your tastes, then purchasing a new home might be the right choice for you.  Many production or semi-custom home builders allow for some customization by the buyer.  Those may include structural options like deciding whether a space is better utilized by your family as an office or an extra bedroom.  You may want to add a guest room or casita to accommodate guests or extended family living needs.  You may want a larger back patio or an extra garage space.  You also have the ability when purchasing a new home to select your flooring, cabinets, counter tops, whether you want a gourmet kitchen or large island, paint colors, lighting, faucets, fixtures, media, security and electrical needs.  Buying a new home helps you personalize the home to fit your lifestyle and design preferences, while controlling your budget. Personalization is a big incentive for new home buyers.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Newly built homes must adhere to current building codes and meet higher minimum energy efficiency standards than homes built in the past. Advancements in building techniques, technology and materials for roofing, windows, sealants, insulation, appliances, etc.  will work synergistically to produce a more comfortable, energy efficient home which will save you money on your monthly utility bills.
  3. Warranty and Maintenance: New construction homes are required to pass several inspections by the builder and the city to insure everything is up to code and able to be permitted to receive a certificate of occupancy.  The builder offers a warranty for the home which varies by builder and by item warranted.  Usually builders offer a one year “bumper to bumper” warranty on all parts and labor.  There are extended warranties for structure, roof, air conditioner and heating systems, appliances and workmanship.  All in all, the newness should mean less maintenance and give you peace of mind for fewer maintenance concerns, especially for first-time home buyers.
  4. Builder Incentives: Builders in new home communities will often offer incentives to help build out the community.  Sometimes these incentives come in the form of a credit toward options selected at the design center, keeping your costs lower.  Sometimes the incentives include blinds or an appliance package consisting of refrigerator, washer and dryer as these items are not normally included as standard.  Builders may offer to pay part of the buyer’s closing costs if they use the builder’s preferred lender. These incentives offer buyers who may be tight on funds get into a home with less money out of their pocket using the builder to pay fees they would normally be responsible to pay. This can often allow a buyer to move forward sooner on a purchase because they don’t have to wait additional time to save more money for the purchase or other down payment assistance.

Four Reasons to Consider Buying a Resale Homeresale home

  1. Location: If you want or need to live in a specific area to be close to work or a specific school or certain preferred amenities, a resale home may be your best solution. With new homes you are limited to living where the homes are being built. This usually means an area of town where there is enough land for the builder to build many homes.  This is often found in outlying areas where builders can purchase land at a better price point. If you want an urban lifestyle, this may not work for you.  Some people do not like the idea of a Homeowners Association (HOA) and sometimes have parking, animal, or other needs that are often prohibited by HOA rules.  Most new home communities have homeowner associations serving them, so a resale home may be your best option.
  2. Floorplan and Style: If you like a certain style or homes with “character” or historic appeal, you are probably best suited for a resale home.  Unless you are building a complete custom home, new home builders in master planned communities have established and permitted styles and floorplans.  You generally are unable to move walls or do any customization that is not already an approved and permitted option offered by the builder.
  3. Landscaping: If you have your heart set on a pool a resale home may be a better choice for you. If you are financing, not all builders or lender programs, allow pools to be included during the construction of the home. Appraisers generally do not give a pool full value for what you paid so buying a home that already has a pool may save you some money. If you like large trees, established flower beds or greenery, even well-designed desert landscaping, and don’t want to wait for it to grow, a resale home with mature landscaping may be your best option.  When purchasing a new home, generally a front landscaping package is included but often, the backyard will be just dirt, a blank canvas waiting for your creativity and wallet to complete.
  4. Short Time Frame: If you have to move quickly, a resale home may be the best option. While builders sometimes have “spec” homes in inventory that can be completed and occupied within 30 – 60 days, more often you will have to wait to build, a project that will generally take 4 – 9 months from start to finish, depending on the builder and location.

When you begin your home search it is a good idea to first meet with your real estate agent and discuss your needs and goals. Your agent will be very valuable in helping you determine whether a new construction home or a resale home will be the best option for you and your family.

Mac Bain is a Realtor with The Lang Group, HomeSmart Elite Group in Goodyear, Arizona.  He has years of experience in working with new construction homebuyers and has helped hundreds of new home buyers through a smooth and successful transaction with the builder. He has also helped many buyers successfully purchase a resale home and enjoys helping people make the right choice for their family.   His dedication to his clients drives him to go beyond normal agent performance to insure his clients get the best deal possible.  He can be contacted at 602.570.8877 or