New Home vs. Resale

From downtown to uptown, from small town to urban center, most areas offer a wide variety of neighbourhoods and homes. The choices can be overwhelming, but with a little help and careful thought, the options best suited to you can be narrowed down until you find your perfect home.

Although pricing and lifestyle issues (do you have or want kids? pets? What home and community amenities will you require?) will be major factors affecting your decisions, there is also the consideration of newly built homes vs. resale houses. Each option presents some distinct advantages, and each has unique issues. Some considerations include:

  • Resale homes tend to be in more established neighbourhoods. This may mean existing roadways, schools and local amenities, and mature landscaping with larger trees. You may find, on average, bigger and more private back yards.
  • In a new subdivision, you can make choices according to your budget and taste. You may choose various options from builders’ plans – home size, layout, style and front elevation, lot size and location, street location.
  • With a builder, you may have to wait many months for your new home to be complete; timing will need to be a large consideration if your existing home has to be sold or rental notice needs to be given, and/or your furniture and household items need to be stored. Delays in the approval or construction process can affect the timing of completion.
  • Ongoing construction in new subdivisions can mean unfinished roads and dusty surroundings until everything is completed.
  • In a new home, of course everything is new! You will have your choice of finishes in your newly built house – choices may include flooring, cupboards and counter tops, and sometimes fixtures and paint colours as well. This can be an exciting way to personalize your home; it is often possible to negotiate or purchase upgrades as well.
  • With a resale home, if you are handy and have an eye for value, you can often find a great home that is suitable to your needs, and renovate, remodel or re-decorate to your personal specifications.
  • Building companies have their own contracts for the purchase. They will usually work with Realtors, and outside advice is highly recommended (the builders will not tell you this!), as there can be provisions within the contract that will affect your purchase and subsequent use of the property, as well as what monies will or will not be returned should the builder not fulfill the contract. Protect yourself!
  • While with resale homes your money is due in full at closing, many builders have a payment schedule which allows you to pay your deposit in stages, as the construction progresses. While the balance will still be due on closing, the wait for your new home to be completed could allow you to save a little more money during the process.
  • When purchasing in an established neighbourhood, you will usually enjoy mature trees and landscaping, as well as pre-existing resources such as schools, libraries and transport.
  • Taxes and closing costs may differ between new and resale homes; often, for instance, sales tax is payable on new homes, while it is usually included in a resale purchase. Check with your attorney (you MUST use an attorney for your purchase) for specifics.