New vs. Used Home: Which Should I Buy?

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The new build craze is (once again) sweeping the area. There’s nothing like that new-house smell, I guess. A new home can be the right choice, or not, depending on way too many factors to sum up in the 300 words (or so) I’m allotted, so I’ll throw out the main points, both positive and negative, and you can take it from there.

Price Points The “sticker price” of a new build will compare to that of a resale home in the same area, in most cases, but that’s not really apples-to-apples. When you tack on potential lot premium, upgrades (new-build prices usually don’t include a ton of swag), backyard landscaping and other goodies, the latest model can run you an additional $30 a square foot or more, compared to a resale home in the area.

Brand New The upside is everything is new, so you’ll defer most maintenance issues for a few years, and you’ll likely see additional utility savings related to the efficiency of newer building materials and components.

Noise & Dust In most new-build areas, you’re going to put up with noise, dust, and other construction-related problems until the community is built out. With resale, you have a bit more stability in the ’hood. You’ll also have more mature landscaping, and amenities will be complete, but probably a bit “used.”

Surprises There are generally fewer surprises related to the neighborhood in resale, but more unforeseen issues related to the house. I strongly recommend a thorough home inspection on both new and used home purchases. I also recommend having a Realtor represent you on a new build, as well as resale. There’s no difference in price, and having a seasoned pro on your side is never a bad thing.

Value Home appreciation on new construction, compared to resale, is really a difficult call to make. Like it’s always been, real estate is always about location. The best lots, neighborhoods, schools systems, etc., tend to move that needle.

In the end, if you love where you live, but your home feels a little dated, consider a remodel. If you feel it’s time to upsize, downsize, or just want a change, a new build might be a viable option. And there are some nice options out there.


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Chris Prickett
Former contractor, former home inspector and funny guy, Chris Prickett is owner and designated broker of Prickett Realty. A New Jersey native, Prickett has been a top-producing REALTOR® in North Phoenix over the last 10 years. He has been a columnist for 13 years. Over the Prickett Fence is published weekly by In&Out Publications.
Chris Prickett on Email

Chris Prickett

Former contractor, former home inspector and funny guy, Chris Prickett is owner and designated broker of Prickett Realty. A New Jersey native, Prickett has been a top-producing REALTOR® in North Phoenix over the last 10 years. He has been a columnist for 13 years. Over the Prickett Fence is published weekly by In&Out Publications.

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