Things to Consider When Purchasing a New Home Build versus a Resale Home

New Homes vs. Resale Homes - Which is right for you

In Las Vegas, we are currently experiencing a small shortage of resale housing inventory (Resale housing refers to homes that have previously been lived in.), which has made the expanding new home market increasingly popular.  So what does that mean exactly for home buyers today? 

Well, a couple years ago a buyer had plenty of options to choose from when it came to selecting a house. They could find homes in the area they wanted and usually at a price point that was within their budget. This is what we call a buyer’s market. Many people were trying to sell their homes, but not many were looking to buy. Now, we’re seeing the opposite. As the economy has slowly continued to recover and grow, more and more people are looking to buy homes, and as the number of interested buyers has increased over the number of sellers we find ourselves with a lack of resale housing inventory. 

However, what Las Vegas does not have a lack of is new home builds. Builders like Lennar/CalAtlantic, Woodside, Pardee and Toll Brothers, to name a few, have new construction popping up all over the city. Whether you’re looking for a home in the Northwest, Summerlin, Mountain’s Edge or Henderson, there’s something for you, and in all different sizes at all different price points. 

So, how is purchasing a new home (new build/new construction) different than a resale, and which is better?

Well, to start off, I don’t think that one is necessarily better than the other, but there are definitely pros and cons for each. All buyers are unique and will have their own opinions about what should be consiidered a pro or a con. Let me break them down a little for you based on some key characteristics. 

Floor plans are one of the differences between new homes and resale homes.

1. Floor Plans
New home builds typically have many different floor plans to choose from. When looking in one community, you will be able to choose the floor plan that best suits your needs when it comes to space and budget. Typically these floor plans include modern conveniences that you do not always find in older homes, such larger and open kitchens and great rooms, walk-in closets, large master bathrooms and lofts. In addition, the builders typically offer some small optional variations to each floor plan allowing the buyer to add extra rooms or bathrooms in lieu of a den, loft or other open space.

On the other hand, older homes may have some charm and character that the new homes do not. They have unique floor plans that differ from neighboring homes. New home developers will develop floor plans and layouts that work best for the lots they are developing and repeat these over and over, resulting in cookie cutter neighborhoods, while older homes will look more unique. 

Amount of personalization is one of the differences between resale or old homes and new homes or new home builders.

2. Personalization
Really you can personalize any home that you end up purchasing, but factors such as cost or timing may determine whether or not the personalization is worth it. Let me explain this a little more. 

After you have selected the floor plan you want and have entered an agreement with the builder, construction will begin on your new home. A little after this, you will go to the builder’s design studio to pick out all of the fixtures and features you want in your new home. This includes flooring, paint colors, counter tops, cabinets, electrical/wiring details and more. All of this will cost money, but the good news is, hopefully, you are already anticipating these additional costs and they will not add additional time to your move-in date. 

You can personalize a resale home, but there are some additional hurdles to consider. Depending on how recently renovations were made to the home you just purchased, you may not want to make a ton of your own. For example, if the seller just spent money on new flooring, repainting and upgraded cabinets, chances are they included these costs in your purchase price, and redoing them again, right after you purchase, could be a waste of money. In addition, renovations may take time and can delay your move into the house despite the fact that you own the home and will be paying the mortgage. 

The ability to have a green home or an environmentally friendly home is another characteristic that is different between resale homes and new home builds.

3. Environmentally Friendly or Green Home
Some buyers may or may not care about this, but newer homes tend to be built in a more environmentally friendly manner. Many of them utilize newer materials that are said to provide better insulation or leave a smaller carbon footprint while being built. In addition, the appliances and fixtures tend to be more energy efficient and environmentally conscious. Think low energy washers and dryers or water efficient toilets. Now don’t get me wrong, you can always upgrade a resale home, but these types of renovations tend to be very costly. 

Smart home technology is something that can differ between resale homes and new home builds.

4. Smart Homes
This is another benefit of newer homes that, once again, can usually be added to an older home, if you’re willing to pay for it. Smart homes and home technology is becoming more and more popular with new home builders. Many of them now either offer smart home packages or provide some type of home technology standard with their homes. For example, you can wire your home for either sound or security, and some builders like Lennar are even partnering with Amazon to provide smart home assistance through Alexa. 

However, this home technology may not be for everyone, so for those of you who do not want your doorbell talking to your phone, you may not need the unnecessary frills or expense of a smart home. 

The location of the home is another difference between resale homes and new home builds.

5. Location
Location may or may not be important to everyone, but you will definitely see a difference in the location of newer homes versus resale homes. New home developers are typically forced to build on the edges of town, and until other commercial infrastructure catches up, home owners may find that they are driving a little further to get to the closest grocery store, bank or gas station. In addition, the neighborhoods, vegetation and community surrounding new homes are typically not as grown out or developed as older neighborhoods.

Older homes tend to have fully developed neighborhoods with your everyday needs close by which can be a definite benefit for some people. In addition, if you are set on living in a particular area of town, due to work, the school district, or maybe just because you like it, you’ll probably have to go with an older home. You will not have as many options when looking at newer homes. 

Timing is another characteristic that can change depending on if you get a new home or a resale home.

6. Timing
Whether the timing of buying a new house or older house is better will be very subjective, but here are a few things to note. When buying a resale home, buyers may spend anywhere from days to weeks looking for the perfect house to put an offer on. After they find that perfect house and get an offer accepted, it’s pretty typical for the transaction to take about 30 days until they get the keys. So, depending on how long you take to choose a house, this process can be pretty quick when comparing it to new home builds. You could be in your next home in a month or sometimes even less!

On the other hand, in exchange for the customized floor plans and personalization, a new home build will take some time, and it may be months before you can move in. Don’t forget, they’re actually building your entire home from a patch of land. While this can be advantageous for home buyers that need time to sell their current home or who are not worried about time constraints, it’s not desirable for those that need to move quickly. But don’t get too discouraged if you have your eyes set on a new home, many new home builders may have existing inventory that is near to or move-in ready. They get this inventory when they are nearing the close of a new development or when a home buyer backs out of their contract. While you won’t necessarily get all of the personalization you would like, you do get all of the other benefits of a new home. 

Cost is a factor that can change depending on if you want a new home/new home build or a resale home.

6. Timing
Whether the timing of buying a new house or older house is better will be very subjective, but here are a few things to note. When buying a resale home, buyers may spend anywhere from days to weeks looking for the perfect house to put an offer on. After they find that perfect house and get an offer accepted, it’s pretty typical for the transaction to take about 30 days until they get the keys. So, depending on how long you take to choose a house, this process can be pretty quick when comparing it to new home builds. You could be in your next home in a month or sometimes even less!

On the other hand, in exchange for the customized floor plans and personalization, a new home build will take some time, and it may be months before you can move in. Don’t forget, they’re actually building your entire home from a patch of land. While this can be advantageous for home buyers that need time to sell their current home or who are not worried about time constraints, it’s not desirable for those that need to move quickly. But don’t get too discouraged if you have your eyes set on a new home, many new home builders may have existing inventory that is near to or move-in ready. They get this inventory when they are nearing the close of a new development or when a home buyer backs out of their contract. While you won’t necessarily get all of the personalization you would like, you do get all of the other benefits of a new home. 

7 key characteristics to consider when comparing hew homes and resale homes.

  I don't want to say that one of these options is better than the other because I think it is unique for every home buyer. For some, the benefits of one will clearly outweigh the benefits of the other, while some home buyers may still be indifferent. For many people, a home is the largest purchase they will ever make, so taking your time to think about what will work best for you is important.

If you have any other questions, or if you want to see both new homes and resale, you can always reach out to Zach.

Also, make sure you check out our last blog post about why you should always bring an agent with you to view or purchase a new home.