Better to buy used or build new?

There are many different variables when buying a home, price, quality, up keep, yard and much more. You may wonder if buying a used home will be the more cost efficient way to get into a home. This may not always be the case. We are going to layout different items to consider during your home buying journey and if building a new home is the right choice for you.

Upfront Costs

According to an article on the median cost of buying an existing single-family house is $223,000 for an average of a 1,500 sq. ft. home. If you build new the average is $289,415 however the average sq. ft is higher at 2,467. The cost per square foot for a new home is actually lower at $103/sq. ft compared to $148/sq. ft. The cost of an existing home includes items that maybe you do not want or would like to change such as flooring, cabinets or other features. When you build new you get exactly what you want to pay for, you are not forced to pay for items that you do not want in your home.


When you buy an existing home it is likely that your maintenance costs will be much higher than when you buy new. HVAC systems, appliances and plumbing have regular wear and tear issues that come with use and the age of the home. Also most likely the warranties on the appliances and systems have expired making it more likely that if there is a problem you will need to cover the whole cost of repair.

When buying new construction you have all new appliances and systems that are still covered under warranty. So even if there is an issue with an appliance or the HVAC system warranty will most likely take care of the cost to repair or replace the product. In the case of most homes the maintenance cost will not start until ten years of owning a new home. Home Builders usually provide a Home Warranty that will cover 10 years on the structure so that you can rest assured that the larger issues of owning a home will most likely be covered under the home warranty.


This is a big one that existing real estate has a leg up on new homes. Mature trees, established lawns, and flower beds with flourishing flowers. This is something that just comes with time and why new homes cannot compete.

Completing landscaping as soon as you move into a new home can quickly help the appearance of the landscape, however, it will still take years for the plants to be mature and match what a home of over 10 years looks like. One pro about completing your own landscape is that you have full control as to what your yard will look like and not have to fix issues that the last homeowner has ignored over the years.

Energy Efficiency

It is well known that the energy efficiency in construction has improved tremendously over the 10 years with technology helping the progress. Older homes usually means windows, appliances, HVAC systems that are dated and not up to the high standard of energy efficiency of today.

New homes are built with more efficient building methods and equipment that helps save you money on your monthly energy bill.


In older homes you have more history that you can research to see if the value of the homes in the area have been increasing in value or decreasing. If there has been a steady increase you can be confident that the value will continue to rise. Also when you drive around the area you can see how well kept the homes are since they are already built out, which will effect the appreciation value.

In new homes there is not always enough data to be 100% confident that the appreciation will be the same. If there is a lot of interest in a certain area and a lot of activity happening it is a good sign that this area is a good place to build new. You can also see how many homes have been sold in the area and how prices have been increasing over time. In many instances getting into a community during the first phase is usually the best practice because prices will be much lower at the beginning of a new project.