Your First Home: Is It Better to Build New or Buy an Existing Home?

[fa icon="calendar"] May 24, 2021 / by Home Services Expert

couple smiling in new houseBuying your first home is an exciting time. It can also be intimidating. With so many choices to make, you have to narrow down your options by merging your big dreams with what is realistic to buy or build. Figuring out your priorities and what you want in a home is the first step, but actually making that work is the hardest part.

As you’re getting started with the home buying process, you have to make a choice: build new from the ground up or buy an existing home in a more established neighborhood.

To help you decide, here are some things to consider:



Budget is one of the first things to look at when considering buying or building a home. Knowing your price range will guide all future decisions you make regarding other details of your future home. Go ahead and compare the quotes from new home builders to the prices on the market for older homes and see what fits your budget!

When it comes to budget, newly constructed homes are generally going to cost more. Considering they are built of all new materials, this makes sense. However, there are exceptions to the rule and it can depend on your location and circumstances.

There are times when an older home is in a more desirable location, has an amazing or large property, or has historic and architectural significance. In these cases, you may find an older home has a higher price than newer ones built a little farther out of town, etc.



New homes have the benefit of requiring less maintenance work and therefore costing you less in maintenance costs. When you buy an older home, you will want to be prepared for unexpected repairs and planned major projects that any house needs over time.

For instance, it’s important to pay attention to the age of the roof and heating and cooling units. Replacing these things can easily cost thousands and thousands of dollars. If you’re building a new home, it will likely come with a builder’s warranty initially and the newer parts and materials won’t need maintenance as quickly.



There’s an old saying in real estate that says 3 things matter: “location, location, location”. People will pay a premium to be near a golf course or on the ocean. They may also pay to be closer to work or near the best schools in the area. Many factors are involved in what someone would consider a prime location, but rest assured you’ll pay extra.

This is where building a custom home could have an advantage – if you own a lot in a prime location you already have a big piece of the puzzle in place. If you are looking at older homes, expect them to get more expensive the nearer you are to the desirable factors mentioned above.


Lot Size:

Lot size can vary considerably depending on when a house was built. Here in Northern California it is common for new home subdivisions to have smaller lots than many houses built a few decades ago. Of course you can find premium lots in higher end neighborhoods with a lot of space, but the cost will go up there significantly.

Some people choose an older home for its larger lot and trees. Another option to consider is building your own home on your own lot. If you can find a sizeable lot that fits your needs, you can give some new home builders a call to find out what it would cost to build your dream home.



When it comes down to it, you can only buy what’s available. Especially in today’s red-hot real estate market where there are often bidding wars and it’s not uncommon to sell a house within a couple of days. Some of your choices may be narrowed by limited availability, which is another good reason to consider building your own home on your own lot. If you determine that an older home suits your needs better, you will need to be prepared and be patient if you are eventually going to find an available home that fits your needs.



It goes without saying that older homes will look…older. This isn’t always a bad thing, they can be beautiful and sometimes people prefer the older styles. If you are wanting the newest features and finishes, and that “brand new” feel, then you will likely want to build a new home.

With new home construction, you get to choose finishes that suit your tastes across the whole home. From the bathroom to the entry way to the kitchen, your house can be customized to your desires.

If you have plans to remodel, the other option is to buy the older home and then update it to include modern finishes and styles.


Get Help with Your New Construction Home

At Experts In Your Home, we specialize in building new construction homes from the ground up on your lot. We will work with you from day one and manage the process through each step of the homebuilding journey. Give our new construction home builders a call today or contact us online!

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