Buying a resale or new build home: 5 decision criteria

Buying a resale or new build home: 5 decision criteria

Above all, the choice between buying a resale or new build home is a subjective decision based on personal taste, but if you have no preference then here are 5 objective parameters to take into account.

Before comparing the advantages and disadvantages of new build and resale, what exactly are we talking about? A property is considered to be a new build if it was built within the last 5 years and no-one has lived there yet. Thus, a recent home may nevertheless be categorised as resale if it has already been lived in and resold by its owner.

1. Cost 

The prices of resale and new build properties are currently fairly similar, but there is room for negotiation of the price when buying a resale home, which is rarely the case for new builds. However, it is unlikely that an older home does not require any work. The maintenance and renovation costs must be calculated and included in your budget. It may also be advisable to allow a certain amount of overhead because a small change can sometimes reveal larger renovations which need to be done. 

Even if everything seems to be in good condition and suits you, you should plan for the longer term in order to estimate whether work will be required in the future (replacement of appliances, restoration, roofing, etc.), particularly in relation to the introduction of new energy laws.

When it comes to expenses, new buildings perform better in terms of energy and allow for lower bills in general.

2. Comfort

Though they may lack character, new builds have the advantage that they meet the latest energy standards and have modern features. You may even be able to furnish and arrange the home as you wish. Furthermore, new homes often have gardens, terraces or balconies.

Older properties are generally less functional and comfortable. You may need to consider works to improve sound insulation and thermal insulation or to upgrade your kitchen. They do not always have outdoor space.

3. Timeframe 

Resale homes may be available immediately, or at least very quickly, while new properties are generally homes which are still under construction, which entails a variable length waiting period. You have to wait until the work is finished, which may be subject to uncertainties and delays. For a new promotion, you should generally allow for 18 months before you are able to take ownership of your acquisition.

4. Location

There are a wide variety of resale homes available on the market, with an equally wide choice of locations and easy verification of access to transport, shops or schools. When it comes to new builds, the choice is more limited and the locations tend to be more towards the suburbs with fewer amenities nearby.

5. Projection

It is important to be able to imagine yourself in a new home and new surroundings. This is easier when the property is a resale property and therefore already exists. Some people may find it difficult to visualise the final result based on plans. Sometimes, you may even need to imagine a neighbourhood which doesn’t exist yet. This is why promoters increasingly provide renders or even virtual tours.

The character of a resale property or the comfort of a new one?

In summary, buying a new build home is less flexible when it comes to price, but it allows you to take advantage of modern and comfortable facilities. However, you may have to exercise more patience between the time of purchase and when you can move in, and it may be more difficult for you to image yourself in the home. 

The purchase price of a resale property is certainly subject to negotiation, but you may have more expenses and you will certainly need to plan for renovation work. You benefit from all the hallmarks of a resale property with a little less comfort, but you can take possession of the premises quickly.

The rare jewel? A resale home which has been completely renovated! You can thus combine the character and authenticity of a resale property with the comfort and practicality of a new build. This type of property is in very high demand and competition to take ownership is stiff. Good preparation of your mortgage application in advance allows you to take advantage of such an occasion, should one arise.

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This content is provided for information and discussion purposes only. It does not constitute a recommendation, invitation or offer to enter into a contract or to buy or sell real estate. All information, including facts, opinions or quotations, may be condensed or summarized and is expressed as of the date of writing. The information does not take into account the financial or tax situation and/or needs of any specific recipient. In the event of any discrepancy of interpretation between the French, German, English and/or Italian versions, only the French text shall prevail.