12 Things to Know When Choosing to Buy vs. Build a New Home

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a luxury home seeker, a vacation home buyer or an investor, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make is whether to search the market for an existing home or build a new one. 

Both situations have their benefits and drawbacks. But you may be surprised to learn just how advantageous it can be to buy an existing home with McGraw Realtors instead of investing in a new build.

Here are 12 factors to consider when deciding to purchase an existing home versus having one custom-built.

1. Easier to Negotiate Your Ideal Price

When you’re looking to buy an existing home, offering a lower price than listed is expected—allowing you to maximize your budget, even for a luxury home.

There normally isn’t much opportunity to bargain with builders. When it comes to getting a perfect price, purchasing an existing home is your best bet.

2. Much Less Stress

Building a house comes with many decisions. What land do you purchase? What style of home? Should you choose wood flooring, carpet or tile? What about the fixtures, cabinets, and countertops? This can feel overwhelming.

Fortunately, many of the elements you desire most can be found in existing homes. And if some changes need to be made, they may be negotiable with the seller. 

3. Wealth Building

Luxury homes in an already established area tend to rise in value, allowing homeowners to build wealth over time. 

Compare that to new builds, which tend to be erected in areas without any history and no guarantee of growth. Such homes can lose 10% or more of their value at move-in, instantly trapping a homeowner in negative equity. 

4. Calm vs. Chaos

If you’re able to afford a custom build on acres you have to yourself, consider yourself fortunate. Most new builds happen in newly formed neighborhoods, which means you’ll be living in an area where other houses are still being built. 

This means enduring noisy workers, traffic diversions, muddy streets, and other annoyances. Things will eventually calm down, but until then, you’re likely to be living in a construction zone.

This isn’t the case when you purchase an existing home in an established neighborhood, which will likely be much calmer right from the start.

5. No Hidden or Unexpected Costs

When you’re looking for your first home, finding a house with everything you want may take a while, but when you do, you can bid on it. Your walkthrough, along with inspections, typically reveals what you need to know—eliminating unwelcome surprises.

However, the upgrades that can be made as you’re building a house can initially seem small, but they add up to serious expenses. That, plus unexpected setbacks in the construction process, can make the overall cost higher than you initially expected.

6. Shorter Wait Time

If you’re looking to live on waterfront property, it can take months to construct a new house. It is possible that you’ll have to make living arrangements if you sell your house quicker than expected. 

A home that has already been built and is part of a lakeside community can be much quicker to move into, so you can start enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of lake life right away.

7. Convenience vs. Customization

If you’re looking for reasons to invest in a vacation home, one huge reason is convenience. A home that is already built in a community with considerable existing amenities is extremely appealing. 

Building a home means waiting until the house is finished before you can enjoy the community it’s in. If the area is still being developed, amenities may be limited compared to what you find in an established neighborhood. 

8. Low Maintenance

Home buyers often don’t have the luxury of making repairs immediately after moving in, which can make a new build appealing at first. 

Keep in mind—while new homes certainly have new features and fixtures, an existing home can have those things as well. You simply need to make smart buying decisions to find your perfect home.

9. Lower Energy Costs

A home that helps you save on energy usage and costs is always a plus. A newly built house often comes with the latest energy-efficient systems and materials, which leads to lower energy bills. 

But a luxury home that has already been built can also have the state-of-the-art eco-friendly systems also. 

10. Still Provides Newness

Being the first owner of a custom-built house with all the latest gadgets, finishes and fixtures is like nothing else in the world. But being the first owner of a home often comes with a higher price tag.

For first-time home buyers, retirees, landlords and investors, it’s often worthwhile to look for an existing house that has freshly upgraded features—providing newness without the added cost of a new build.

11. Better for the Environment

Buying an older home can have an advantage over building a new house in terms of eco-friendliness—because no new materials are needed. 

Investing in an existing house means you’re helping to protect natural resources, while eliminating the need to dispose of materials used during construction.

12. Recouping Your Investment

With a new home build, you can limit the high-end features you install. This reduces initial costs, but can make it harder to sell the home later on.

Often, you can find an existing home that has everything you desire for a price you can live with. In the long run, this may boost your long-term return on investment.

Find Your Ideal Home and Love Your New Lifestyle   

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, an investor, a retiree, or a family seeking a vacation spot on one of our area’s many lakes—there is a perfect home out there waiting for you. 

At McGraw REALTORS, our broad network and savvy negotiation skills makes the process of locating your new home a streamlined, stress-free experience. Reach out to us and let us know how we can help you get into the home of your dreams. 

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