Homebuyers today are facing a huge dilemma. There simply aren’t enough homes for sale.
Nationwide, the number of newly listed homes dipped slightly in September, down 1.6% from August. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, that’s only about 2.1 months of inventory, which is far less than the five to six months that is generally needed to strike a healthy balance between supply and demand.
Given the limited number of available properties, if you’re a buyer in today’s market, you may need to expand your search to include both new construction and resale homes. But it can feel a little like comparing apples to oranges. Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors you should take into account when choosing between a new build or an existing home.
New Build: Nationally, the average timeline to build a home has more than doubled over the past 20 years from 9 to 21 months. And rising costs have led some builders to raise prices or cancel contracts—extending the timeline even further. We can help minimize surprises by negotiating better terms and advising you about the potential risks involved.
Existing Home: You can typically move into a resale home on your closing date. While closing on an existing home can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, it’s almost always faster than the time it would take to build a new one.
New Build: Canada is undergoing a major residential construction boom, and rural and smaller urban communities have been the first to benefit—primarily because the single-detached homes located in those areas take less time to build. That means, if you opt for a new single-family home, you could be facing a longer commute and ongoing construction for some time.
Existing Home: An existing home is more likely to be located close to town in a neighbourhood with mature trees, established schools, and a deeply-rooted community. As a result, you may find the neighbourhood's trajectory to be more predictable than an up-and-coming area.
New Build: When you build a home, everything is brand new. Therefore, you can expect less required maintenance and repairs in the beginning. However, some home builders have reputations for shoddy construction, which can lead to unexpected issues down the road. We can help you identify the quality builders in our area.
Existing Home: While an older home is more likely to need repairs, there are ways to prepare for these expenditures. We always recommend that our buyers hire a certified home inspector, whether they buy a new or existing home. Once we have the inspector’s report, we can negotiate with the seller on your behalf for reasonable repairs or concessions.
New Build: If energy efficiency is a top priority, a new home with a low EnerGuide Rating may be a good choice. The EnerGuide label is administered by Natural Resources Canada, and it measures a home’s energy performance against a benchmark.
Existing Home: A basic tenant of sustainable living is: reduce, reuse, recycle. And since a resale home already exists, it automatically comes with a lower carbon footprint. Research has also shown that remodelling or retrofitting an older home is often greener than building one from scratch.
New Build: Builders tend to put a lot of emphasis on visual details and follow the latest design trends. However, some buyers complain of a cookie-cutter feel, as new homes are often built with a similar aesthetic. We can help you negotiate custom features and upgrades to personalize the space and make it feel like your own.
Existing Home: While some buyers prefer the traditional look and character of an older home, others crave something more modern. If that’s the case, we can help you find a resale home that leaves enough room in your budget to renovate it to your liking.
We are knowledgeable about both the new construction and resale home options in our area, and we can help you make an informed decision, negotiate a fair price, and avoid mistakes that can cost you time and money. And in many cases, our homebuyer guidance and expertise are available at no cost to you. So give us a call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation—and let’s start searching for your next home!
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