Buying new vs. resale homes
House hunting? Consider these 11 points when deciding between a new build and resale home.
After watching his sister toil with the so-called quirks of renovating a 100-year-old Victorian home in downtown Toronto, Peter Moffatt took a very different tact, opting instead for a new build on the outskirts of Cambridge, Ont.
"I liked the idea of everything being brand new, from your floors to your countertops -- you don't feel like you're inheriting someone else's mess," says Moffatt, who is among the 25 per cent of homebuyers who purchase a brand new home.
It's an age-old debate -- the pros and cons of buying a new versus resale home. Doug Blackstock of Royal LePage in Kingston, Ont., says it really comes down to the buyer's mindset. "People value different things and both options have their advantages and disadvantages."
Davide Baldassarra agrees. He's done both and is now in the middle of renovating a new-to-him house in Mono, Ont. "The established trees and landscaping is huge plus."
Not sure which is right for you? Here are 11 points to consider:
Character: Older homes tend to be celebrated for character and (depending on age) quality of workmanship. However, if layout or features aren't exactly to your liking, renovations are a consideration. "You have limitations as many walls are fixed and it's very costly to reconfigure," says Baldassarra, adding with a new home you build it the way you want it.
Customize: The great thing about a new build is you can customize everything -- from cabinets to floors to paint and window coverings. When you take possession your home will be in move-in condition. On the downside, says Moffatt, "You're not supposed to wallpaper for a year or finish your basement for the first five years."
Costs: With resale homes you go in expecting to negotiate price, but there is little wiggle room with most new builds. And, the starting price is just that -- a starting price, says Blackstock: "I've never seen anybody go in and pay $250,000 for what's advertised as a $250,000 house." Standard materials tend to be on the cheaper side, so if you want to make your new build truly your own, you'll want upgrades for which you'll pay a premium.
New isn't perfect: Just because a home is new doesn't mean there won't be any issues. "As your house settles things pop up -- you just hope it happens before your warranty expires," says Moffatt. Mitigate risk by hiring a home inspector and ensuring you have a comprehensive warranty.
Know thy builder: "Some of the builders go out of their way to please clients because they know what goes around comes around; some use cheap materials and cut corners," says Blackstock. "Research your builder and ask what they'll do for you and what they won't."
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