What to look for when buying a home: new vs. previously-owned

What to look for when buying a home: new vs. previously-owned

October 4, 2016
buying a home
Source: Shutterstock

For most people, buying a home is the largest investment they’ll ever make. That’s why it’s so important to know exactly what you want and to make sure that you won’t end up regretting the dollars you spend.

One of the most frequently asked questions that comes up when people are thinking about buying a home is: Should it be brand new or previously owned? Both come with their own benefits and drawbacks and this article will tell you what they are. If you plan to buy a home, you might want to take this information into consideration.


What’s great about a new home is that you can customize it. If it’s not finished, you can ask the builder to construct it just like you want it. Even if you buy a pre-planned house, you might still be able to ask for minor things, such as the colors and materials for your paint, flooring, bathrooms and kitchen.

A previously owned home is already finished. It can still be customized, but it will cost you more.


Many brand-new homes come with warranty, which can in some cases last up to 10 years. This is a huge advantage for homeowners, who won’t have to spend money for major repairs.

However, just like all things new, new homes come with many unknowns. You won’t be able to find out immediately if the foundation is solid, or fi the construction is sound. Only time will tell. Older homes don’t have this problem.


Over time, building codes change. And new homes have to be built to the specifications of the latest building and safety codes. This means that newer homes will have better technology, upgraded electrical systems, new plumbing, fire safety and natural disaster protection, while old homes might not. This doesn’t mean that older homes are less safe, but it will still cost you more to bring them up to date.

One good thing about old homes is that they’re made of sturdier materials, such as bricks, aluminum or hard woods. New homes, on the other hand, use less-expensive materials that tend to deteriorate faster.

Design has also changed over the years. New homes come with larger kitchens and more open layouts, while older homes have compact kitchens and formal dining rooms. But, as we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You have to decide which design better suits your needs.


Older homes are closer to the core of the city, while old homes tend to be farther away. Suburban life has its advantages, as does the shorter commute.

Final Word

If you’re interested in buying a home, it’s a good idea to take a piece of paper and a pen and write down the things that are most important to you. Afterwards, you can go hunting for the house that best suits your needs.


Thomas Hookton is a finance journalist, history buff and science fiction connoisseur. Hit him up via email.

Around the web

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply