In the age-old debate between buying a new or existing home, these lifestyle, environmental, and financial considerations tip the scales in favor of new construction.
It’s a frequently pondered question amongst both seasoned and first-time homebuyers: Should I buy an older home and potentially renovate down the road, or should I buy new? While some adore the charm of a 100-year-old fixer-upper and enjoy channeling their inner Chip or Joanna Gaines, remodeling isn’t for everyone. Others prefer to be the first owners of a home, with the satisfaction of knowing that everything—from the appliances and carpeting, to the bathtubs and light fixtures—is untouched. If that brand-new aesthetic appeals to you, read on for seven more lifestyle, environmental, and financial benefits of a new construction home.
When purchasing an older home, there may be some concessions you have to make on your list of “dream home must-haves.” Perhaps the property is in your ideal neighborhood but only has three bedrooms instead of four. Maybe there’s an office space but no formal dining room. With a new build, however, you don’t have to make any sacrifices, getting exactly what you want from floor plan to finishes.
New insulating materials, more efficient systems, and stricter energy codes all contribute to improved energy efficiency in new builds. According to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, occupants of single-family housing units built since 2010 used 28 percent less energy than occupants of older single-family homes in 2015, the most recent year of published survey results.
A home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, so of course you’ll want to protect your investment. New construction homes automatically come with a builder warranty —which lasts anywhere from one to 10 years—that covers workmanship and materials for components like plumbing, electrical systems, windows, HVAC, and major structural defects. You can get a home warranty on older properties too, but the cost comes out of the homeowner’s pocket.
Fewer operating and maintenance costs
When you buy a new construction home, you typically don’t have to worry about tasks like cleaning the gutters or tuning up your HVAC unit immediately after being handed the keys, as you might with an older house. Operating costs—such as fuels, maintenance, and water and trash services—for new homes built after 2010 hovered around 3 percent of the home’s value, compared to an average 5 percent for older homes, states a National Association of Home Builders report based on the 2019 American Housing Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Amenities and community
If you opt for a new build in an emerging development community, your purchase nets you more than just the house—you may also get amenities like a pool, athletic courts, a coffee shop, or green space, to name a few. Plus, all of your neighbors will be moving in around the same time, making it easy to make friends and build a community.
When smart home technology first came to market, it was a luxury reserved solely for high-end homes, but it’s now becoming more accessible for all new builds. In a survey from Home Innovation Research Labs , builders reported offering smart technology like learning thermostats (85 percent), video doorbells (82 percent), and app-controlled lighting (73 percent) as either standard or upgraded features in their new homes.
Higher resale value
If you choose to go the new construction route, it’s unlikely you’ll be thinking about selling anytime soon, but life—an unexpected job opportunity, a new baby, a marriage or divorce—happens. In the event that you do put your home on the market in a couple years, your resale value could be higher than comparable older properties because of the contemporary features and up-to-date systems that come standard in a recent build.
Written by Taylor Hugo
Taylor Hugo (taylorhugo.com) is a freelance writer and editor who has experience creating content for regional and national magazines, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between. After spending most of her life in Minnesota, she recently relocated to Colorado, where you’ll find her hiking the Rocky Mountains and decorating her first home that she shares with her husband and dog.