8 things to consider when buying new construction vs fixer-upper homes

Ginger Dean

September 8, 2015

By: Ginger Dean, Home Finance Specialist

In: Finance and Legal

If you're in the market for a new home, you need to decide whether to buy a new construction place that comes turn-key-ready or an older home that may need some fixing up. Of course, there are pros and cons to both options.

A new home is in perfect condition, but it probably looks just like every other house on the block. Older homes can be renovated to look and feel exactly the way you want them to, but take time and money. So which is better for you?

If you're debating, here are a few things to take into consideration:

The condition of the foundation

Foundation cracks and other problems can mean big expenses for home buyers. Homes with bad foundations usually never pass inspection and therefore cost homeowners big time. This is a major advantage of buying a new home that won't need major remodels because the cost to fix a foundation can be up to $50,000 says MSN.

Look at the neighborhood

The location of your home is very important. Proximity to schools, work, and other local amenities makes your real estate more attractive. Buying a fixer-upper in a great neighborhood you couldn't otherwise afford can be a good way to get into a prime location.

How much work does it really need?

There are two types of fixer-upper homes: ones that just need some cosmetic changes and others that need to be gutted. If you're looking at a complete remodel, think about what you're getting yourself into. Home renovation projects can take years. Are you willing to wait that long for your home to be finished?

Can you afford the renovation?

Before buying a fixer-upper, US News advises home buyers to ask themselves if they can really afford the renovations. Although the purchase price of an older home can be a bargain, by the time you factor in the costs of renovations, upgrades, and unexpected miscellaneous expenses in, it may actually be cheaper to buy a new construction.

Do you have the time to commit?

If you don't have the money to hire a contractor to fix up your home then you're stuck doing the work yourself. If DIY is not your specialty, the project can be quite long and costly. Ask yourself if you're ready to spend your evenings and weekends renovating your fixer-upper.

What about the roof?

If you're buying an older home the roof may need to be replaced. According to Forbes, a new roof can cost between $10,000 and $30,000. That's a big additional expense for home buyers.

New homes have warranties

This is one of the best things about buying a new home. Features such as the foundation, roof, furnace and water heater most likely all come with warranties.

Is the home energy efficient?

Having a home that has energy efficient appliances as well as insulated windows and walls is a major advantage of buying a new home. Having an energy efficient home can help save big bucks in monthly heating costs.


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