Shopping for Homes: Should You Buy Used, or Build New?

Shopping for Homes: Should You Buy Used, or Build New?
  • Opening Intro -

    Buying a home is a big decision, and one of the most important decisions you'll make is whether to buy used or new.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both options.

    The choice you make is largely dependent upon your income and personal needs.


For many people, a first home is typically bought used. However, if you want to have more control over the layout and structure of the home, then a new home is generally the right choice.

Total Maintenance Costs

A used home is going to likely have higher maintenance costs. When you consider the time you’ll lose from your schedule hiring repairmen and the overall cost of repairs on a used home, it may be reasonable to pay for a new home. MarketWatch suggests that the cost of a new home is comparable to that of a used home once you factor in maintenance costs. After all, when you buy used, you’re buying a home that is likely going to need repairs sooner rather than later.

The Total Energy Savings

Another reason to buy a new home is to take advantage of the latest in energy efficiency. Existing homes may have insulation that isn’t as effective as a new home. They also may use less energy-efficient appliances. In some cases, the air conditioning and heating unit will have to be completely replaced. When you buy a new home, you can expect to get the latest in energy-efficient technology. Even homes built just five years ago are less energy efficient than a home purchased today. You can always upgrade an old home, but some upgrades are going to be extremely costly and time-consuming.

If you are thinking of building (or buying something similar), start with a view of house plans to give you an idea on what you would like to entertain.

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Comfort and Air Quality

Newer homes have stricter energy standards and codes that were not in existence in the past. A new home will use a state-of-the-art ventilation and air filtration system. In older homes, these systems may have been replaced by the homeowner at some point. Many people don’t choose the optimal replacement units for their home because they are trying to save money. This leaves you at a disadvantage when purchasing an existing home. If you want the latest technology, you’ll have to add that cost on to the total purchase price of the home.

Experience is Important

Homebuilders have become more efficient and skilled over the years at building houses. For example, an established builder could have decades of experience building Utah homes. To put this in perspective, would you rather have a new home built by a builder with 30 years of experience who knows how to use the latest modern building techniques, or do you trust your home to a builder from 10 years ago who built the house based on now outdated protocols?

It’s Not All About Money

There are some instances where it does make sense to a buy an existing home. If you want a vintage house, it makes sense to look for a more historical house that will fit your needs. However, new homes are often built in planned communities. The new wave of home building is to create a community that you can live in. It’s not just about the house with a new home, it’s also about the neighborhood and the amenities that come with it.

In most cases, a new home provides the best value for homeowners. You’ll have less need for repairs over the life of the home, and you’ll be able to get exactly the home you want. A home should be something you can grow with, and too many people make assumptions based on the perceived savings a used home offers. When you consider replacement costs, energy savings and flexibility, a new home can’t be beaten for its value.



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