Congratulations! You’ve taken the first steps on the homebuying path – deciding to buy a home. A maze of other choices await you and here’s one of the biggest: new or resale?

 

There is no ‘right’ answer. In the end, it’s really about what works best for you and your family. Here are some things to think about.

 

 

Location

In real estate, you’ve probably heard it’s all about location. Families should bear that in mind when choosing a home:

 

New homes are most often built in subdivisions away from the city’s core.  The lots may be smaller than you’d find in older neighbourhoods and the houses are built closer together.  Coming from the same builder, the homes may look very similar, with minor differences in colour or siding. There won’t be many trees or landscaping. While there will be essential services (water, gas), there may not yet be adequate public transportation.

 

Resale homes are most often found in established neighbourhoods. There are fixed local services, parks and schools. The lots may be larger, although the homes may be smaller.  You can often find more individuality in older neighbourhoods.

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Amenities

These are the kinds of things you’d like to have quick access to, such as schools, fitness centres, grocery stores and other retail outlets.

 

New homes are often built with future promises of schools and parks. However, they may not be constructed until after the development is completed. These neighbourhoods away from the city core may be closer to large retail outlets offering more competitive prices.

 

Resale homes are already part of an established area  – schools and parks have been built, neighbourhood conveniences established. There is less likelihood that new development will take place.

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Size

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the average size of a Canadian house in 2004 was 1800 square feet. That’s a big leap from the average 800 sq. ft. recorded in 1945 and the 1075 sq ft. noted in 1975.

 

New homes may be bigger than their older counterparts, answering today’s lifestyle demands that include open layouts, ensuite bathrooms, storage space and attached garages.

 

Resale homes may have more interior walls, creating more rooms but less of an open feeling. There may be more character to the homes – ceilings, archways and built-ins to make the home distinctive.

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Technology

Today’s modern family is so comfortable with technology that it’s become an expected part of everyday life.

 

New homes, particularly if you’re buying before construction, can be wired for 21st century living, including multiple phone lines, high-speed Internet and extra cable outlets.

 

Resale homes may not be wired to handle all of our tech toys. There may be fewer electrical outlets in the home and an electrical system that may need to be upgraded.

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Efficiency

As the costs of heating and electricity increase, homeowners discover the state of their windows, furnaces and foundations can make a big difference in their monthly expenses.

 

New homes must meet higher energy standards. New building materials boast of lower energy costs for homeowners, including glazed windows and thicker insulation. The appliances offered by builders are more energy-efficient.

 

Resale homes will cost more to run, unless the systems have been upgraded. It is expensive to replace older windows and furnaces but those improvements will cut down on those expenses in the future.

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Maintenance

Moving into a home is more than just unpacking boxes. You’ll have to devote your time and money to keeping it up.

 

New homes are just that – new construction, new foundations and new fittings. In Alberta, builders who are members of the New Home Warranty or National Home Warranty Program offer limited protection for homeowners for materials and workmanship. New appliances are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, not the builder.

 

Resale homes equal increased maintenance, especially if the previous owners didn’t maintain it. It could be harder to match the existing materials and there may be a significant investment for a total refitting.

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Interiors

When you imagine yourself in your new home, you want to make sure the inside is something you can live with.

 

New homes are a blank canvas – literally! You can pick your paint colours, flooring, window coverings and cabinetry. You can customize details to your heart’s content or within your budget!

 

Resale homes either grab you with their décor or get you imagining how your design stamp will look. Resale homes often include window-coverings, light fixtures and appliances, savings that may factor into your budget.

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Health and Safety

No matter what you choose, feeling safe and secure in your home should be high on your priority list.

 

New homes feature materials to keep the space healthy. For example, asbestos and lead are no longer used in construction. Many new homes feature hard-wired smoke detectors on every level. As well, a sturdier electrical power system may be installed to deal with today’s heavy electrical demands.

 

Resale homes come with a history. As a proactive buyer, find out all you can about how the home was maintained or any structural problems or issues. Have the home inspected before you make your final decision.

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Future Development

The way your neighbourhood looks today could change, depending on future construction plans and zoning.

 

New homes are built in a subdivision, but that may not be the end of the construction.  If there’s a vacant field near your house or a pristine view, check out the city or town zoning board to find out how the land is zoned and if more development is planned for the future.

 

Resale homes, generally, aren’t subject to the same kind of development going on in the suburbs. Neighbourhoods will remain intact, although nearby future road projects could affect the home’s value and your ease in getting around.

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Price

You came into this project with a budget – the amount of money you could spend for your purchase and the variety of costs associated with it.

 

New homes are generally more expensive than resale ones. The cost of materials, labour and land has all increased as cities and towns build out from their centre core. Fees for bringing municipal services to the new area are also factored into the price. Builders have a base price for their homes and you may discover there are costs for the homeowners’ association, architectural controls and other mandatory fees.

 

Resale homes are priced with a number of factors in mind: location, condition and current market selling trends. Prices for these homes are also influenced by neighbourhood desirability or closeness to the downtown core. Renovated homes can account for large price variations within the same neighbourhood.

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The Decision to Buy

REALTORS® are prepared to help you with your choice.

 

If you choose to buy a new home, a REALTOR® may be involved in representing the builder (for example, at an open house) or representing you, the buyer.

 

Should you choose a resale home, a REALTOR® with access to the Multiple Listing Service® can help you find the home to fit your budget and your dreams.

 

Using a REALTOR® means you can be confident you’re getting a trusted professional to take the journey with you.