New or used: What type of home is right for you?

New or used? This is a question people always ask themselves when thinking of buying a home.

Generally speaking, the major advantages of getting a new home built are the disadvantages of buying an existing home, and vice versa. It’s best to know what type of project you’re ready to embark upon before making your choice.

1. Costs to anticipate

Knowing your budget is an excellent starting point in making your decision. But remember that whether you buy a new or pre-existing home, you’ll have to pay the welcome tax and the notary fees.

New
In addition to the listed price for the home you’re interested it, you’ll also have to pay tax on the value of your purchase.

You’ll also need to talk to the developer about the type of flooring you want, how the kitchen will be finished and more. The listed price may not necessarily include using the most popular materials or even finishing the basement, among other things.

Don’t forget exterior work! You should consider the costs of excavating, paving the main entrance or installing fences. This can add up to thousands of dollars, depending on the quality of materials you select, the area to be paved and the extras you’ll choose.

Used
All of these features are generally already included in the price of an existing home. However, when you visit, you must check the condition of the roof, windows, plumbing, wiring and foundations. If there are major repairs to be done in the short term, you must include them in your budget. 

When you’re visiting an existing home, you have to be able to overlook the colours and décor, especially when you don’t like them. Try to visualize the changes you’ll need to make to get the home how you want it.

2. Project duration

Whether you’re looking at a new build or an older home, you can buy a turnkey product and move in within a few weeks. However, patience is often the watchword for home buyers.

New
The transaction for a new home may be carried out before, during or after construction. The rule of thumb is that the earlier you buy during the building process, the more time you’ll have to invest in the project.

This is because you’ll need to spend hours selecting the contractors, other professionals and materials or even finalizing the plans for the building. You’ll also spend hours on the worksite to see how work is progressing. And it’s important to remember that it is possible that your home will not be ready on schedule.

Used
The amount of time you’ll have to invest for a pre-existing home depends on its condition and on the work needing to be done. You may have to visit a few properties before finding one that meets your needs, but your search will be easier if you clearly identify what you’re looking for.

If the house was completely renovated before being put up for sale, you could be in your new home on the date written on the offer to purchase. But if more extensive work is required—for instance on the walls or structural elements—then you may be moving in a little later.

Bottom line: Remember that the more time you’re willing to invest, the lower your final bill will be. The price of a turnkey home—be it new or used—will naturally be higher. But if you’re ready to build your dream home or to renovate a property in your dream neighbourhood, then you will likely get more for your money.

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