Building a New Home versus Buying a Used Home

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Let’s face it, building a new home takes effort. Buying an existing home is just plain easy. You look, you buy, you move in. Well… it’s not exactly that easy.  Today’s housing market is tough. Home inventories are the lowest they have been in years. With interest rates low and the low inventories, good used homes are hard to find. The best homes sell fast creating a pricing competition in some areas.  Your other option is to build a house of your own. In today’s market, the cost of building a house is comparable to buying an existing home.

The Used Home Market

Buying a used home is usually less stressful than building a home because you have fewer decisions to make. After all, the house is already built. This makes the timeframe from the purchase decision to move in much faster.  But, depending on the age of the home, buying an existing home means buying all of its problems. About half of the average house needs replaced during its first 30 years. The big dollar items include the roof, the heating and cooling system, and the home’s appliances.

Many items can be caught and identified with a home inspection. HGTV and the DIY channel have dozens of home improvement programs that show how a home went from drab to fab in just a few weeks. Just two things to think about: first, no remodel or home improvement is done in a just few weeks. Second, every existing home has a “gotcha”. It can be insect infestations, hidden water damage, bad electrical wiring, etc. But every one of those shows and every home featured has something hidden that the professionals didn’t uncover when they talked the home buyer into purchasing that specific home for the makeover. For about the same price as a new home, you get an older home that has more wear and tear, is usually less energy-efficient, and typically requires some expensive maintenance tasks to be completed. How much work and how expensive it will be usually hinges on the home’s age.

The New Home Alternative

While building a home will take longer there are several advantages that can far outweigh the initial stresses of all the decisions that will need to be made. Here are a few:

You Get to Choose Your Floor Plan and Colors – When you build a home you get to design it for the way you live. Do you have a pet? Have a pet shower built-in near the rear door.  Do you like to cook? Create the kitchen that you dream about. When you build a custom home, you get to pick out just about anything you want in just about any color. With new construction, you get to pick everything from flooring to countertop and cabinet colors. You can choose bathroom finishes and lighting and even faucets and sink styles. Your new home is built for you!

Do you want a $50 Power Bill? – A $50 energy bill may sound crazy. But with planning and design, it is possible with new homes today. And it may be more cost-effective to do than you think. If adding high-performance options to your new home requires you to add $100/mo to your home payment but you can save $300/mo in an electric bill, most people would make that trade every month! Even without adding the energy-efficient technologies to a new home, homes today are far more energy efficient than a home that was built even just 10 years ago. Building Science has made tremendous gains in the last several years. Areas such as windows, doors, sealants, insulation, heating and cooling systems, shingles, etc. are all made to contribute to lower energy usage. Homes today are just more comfortable to live in.

Throw Away the Inhaler –  Because of new energy codes that are in force today, homes have to be more energy-efficient. While this can save money on energy bills, it makes the home much tighter (in other words, they don’t have any ventilation). Now homes must have other methods to introduce good air into the home and filter it. Combine this with much better materials and the indoor air quality is much better than an equivalent older, existing home.


You Don’t Build a New Home with Used ItemsExisting homes typically don’t come with a warranty for the older items and materials they contain. New homes come with a warranty. In most states, the builder is required to offer at least a 1-year warranty on the home. In some states, that may even be 10 years for the structure itself. In any case, new homes offer the peace of mind that you have all new items and if something breaks, there is a good chance it falls under the coverage of a warranty. It won’t be an out-of-pocket expense that you don’t need to deal with as you furnish your new home.

Better Materials/Less Work – Because the home and all the parts and materials to build it are new, there is a much lower maintenance burden in new homeownership. Most homes are built with little or no exposed wood. Items such as decks, trim, and many other items are made from composite and longer-lasting materials. There is little to no need for painting, cleaning, and replacing that is typically found with these same items in used homes.

New Custom Modular Homes

Modular construction offers a great option for building a new custom home. While most new homes take 7 months to build, modular reduces that time frame. From final design to move in, modular can shave months off of the typical timeframe. With the design options offered by modular, a home buyer can get a home in practically any style and with almost any finish. By using modular construction, a new custom home can be offered a value that is hard to beat with typical onsite construction. If you are thinking about buying an existing home, explore how modular can offer you a great time-saving alternative for new construction!

About the Author
Ken Semler

Ken Semler

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Hi, I am Ken Semler the founder of Impresa Modular. I am passionate about our company and the homes that we provide. Modern modular construction enables us to deliver healthy, safe, and energy-efficient living spaces. Impresa Modular is a licensed/registered/certified builder/contractor in almost every state. I believe that modular homes provide the best way to deliver virtually unlimited design flexibility at the greatest value.

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Comments 5

  1. Looking to be old and new home Need it to be energy-efficient. Looking for hey alternative to the high cost of new construction

    1. Ken Semler Post

      Modular construction can produce a home at a great value! Most people actually decide to use modular construction for their new home because of the speed of construction and the quality of build process. Cost is usually the last thing considered when selection a modular home.

    1. Ken Semler Post
  2. I have previously owned a modular home & i loved it. The construction process was greatly reduced and we never had nail pops on the factory finished areas.

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