A New Home Versus A Resale Home: The Pros And Cons

March 8, 2020


Choosing between a brand new home or a resale is a common dilemma. New homes look more modern and offer a ton of upgraded features, but resale homes can have a lot of character and tend to be a little more affordable.

Which is better? Because both new and resale homes equally have their merits, we’ve put together this handy pros and cons list. Hopefully, after reading through the advantages and disadvantages of each, you’ll have a better idea as to which type of home may be best for you.

Affordability

New Home Pro: Whether you’re looking to build your home from the ground-up or purchase a move-in ready home, flexible down payments, builder incentives and a stable home market mean you can get a new home at a price you can afford.

New Home Con: Depending on the home style you’re looking for, a brand new home may be at a higher price point than a resale property.

Resale Pro: Depending on the location, it is possible to find resales with a lower price point. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. An older home in popular, established neighbourhood may need a lot of work.

Resale Con: What may appear ultra-affordable upfront may come with a heftier price tag as resale homes usually require renovations, maintenance or repairs.

Features

New Home Pro: New homes come with the latest features and building trends. Even if you choose the base model, you can expect the latest designs and materials, including:

  • Floor Plans and Layout
  • Countertops
  • Cabinetry
  • Flooring
  • Appliances
  • Hardware and Fixtures

Due to changing construction and energy standards, new home builds come with the latest energy efficient systems – including your hot water tank, HVAC, furnace, thermostat, and more. This ultimately leads to huge savings on your utility bills in the long run. High-end security features also come standard in some new home builds, including automated lighting, smart home systems (motion detectors, smoke and CO detectors, etc.) nest cameras and even smart locks.

New Home Con: You’ll have to pay extra for any additional features or upgrades. For example, a standard model may come with laminate countertops, but if you’d prefer quartz instead, you’ll need to add that into your budget.

Resale Pro: With a resale, the features you’ll get completely vary from home to home. You could have old and outdated features that you’ll need to replace soon, or you may find brand new features in a remodelled resale with a higher price tag.

Resale Con: Not all resales are created equal and more often than not, you’ll come across outdated features and designs – including, but not limited to, choppy floor plans, low-efficiency systems and appliances, outdated finishes and much more. While you may be saving money up front with the purchase of a resale home, you may end up paying more to update it than you would have for a new home.

If you’re fortunate enough to find a resale with updated features, remember that these will be factored into the overall price of the home. Here too, you could end up paying just as much as you would for a new home build, only without reassurance knowing these upgrades have been professionally installed.

Maintenance

New Home Pro: One of the biggest advantages of purchasing a brand new home is the overall reduced maintenance.

  • Systems and Appliances – As mentioned earlier, modern home systems and appliances are more energy efficient than ever. This, in combination with up-to-date technology, guarantees a longer lifespan and a major difference in your utility bills
  • Low Maintenance Building Materials – Here too, the very materials used to build your home are guaranteed time savers. For example, the siding included in new home builds is more wear and tear resistant and easy to clean. Roofing materials are now more resistant to fluctuating weather conditions. This means less time doing maintenance and/ or repairs in the long run.

New Home Con: Unless you decide to purchase a low-maintenance condo property (where your exterior maintenance is covered in your monthly condo fees), you’ll still need to keep up with yard work, shovelling snow, mowing the lawn etc.

Resale Pro: As mentioned above, the previous owner may include updated features and finishes (like fresh paint, appliances or systems) saving you on maintenance in the long run.

Resale Con: Resale homes often come with maintenance issues – both seen and unseen. You may be able to negotiate the purchase price with the seller if, for example, it’s obvious the flooring is lifting around the bathtub.

However, it’s hard to tell what you’re getting into. You may purchase the home only to find out the raised flooring is due to a major plumbing issue. Unforeseen maintenance and repairs often associated with resale homes can be costly, stressful and time-consuming.

Warranty

New Home Pro: Depending on the province you live in, your new home may come with a mandatory warranty. If not, you can still purchase one. A home warranty covers everything from builder materials to mechanical systems and even structural issues.

New Home Con: Not everything will be covered by warranty. A good builder will be sure to explain your home warranty in detail when you purchase a new home.

Resale Pro: Unfortunately, even if a resale home was protected by the Alberta New Home Warranty Program, it may have already expired depending on when it was built.

Resale Con: Any resale home ten years or older will not have any warranty coverage at all

Value

New Home Pro: New home builds and move-in ready homes guarantee a better return on your investment. In addition to being built with the latest standards and materials, modern designs, features, and finishes will be more appealing to buyers when and if you decide to sell later on.

New Home Con: If you’re looking to really boost the value of your new home purchase, you may have to sink a little extra into upgrades, features, and finishes to get the biggest return on your investment.

Resale Pro: A resale that has been updated in terms of features, finishes, and functionality will maintain higher value in the long run and may cost less than a new build.

Resale Con: Even if it’s been updated, chances are you’ll have to put forth a little extra at the time of moving in or at the time of sale to get top value for an older house.

Communities

New Home Pro: Home builders make a point to build in the best new developments. They understand access to shopping, schools, entertainment, commuter roads, services and other important amenities are of top priority to homeowners. You will also have your pick of home model and community without having to sacrifice one for the other.

New Home Con: Sometimes homes develop faster than the surrounding amenities. That is to say, you may have to deal with a bit of construction around your new home until the surrounding neighbourhood has time to catch up. Keep in mind though, that this ongoing development does increase the value of your property!

Resale Pro: Resales can often be found in already established communities with well-founded amenities.

Resale Con: Selection is limited and you may find yourself having to sacrifice the home you love for the community you want or vice versa