If there’s one question amongst home buyers that never fades with the seasons it’s the question of whether to buy new or resale. For your personal requirements consider the most prominent branches on the home buying tree — location, price, and personal satisfaction.

In terms of location, buying resale comes with a solid idea of what you’re getting into. The current state of the neighborhood is a very good indicator of what you and your family can expect. On the new side, the gamble is how close to the idealistic community portrayed in the builder’s media will the end result actually be? Much depends on the quality of the people that move in, the reputation of the builder and area influences, such as proximity to highways, downtown Toronto, schools, golf courses, etc. Another factor to consider is that new developments are somewhat restrictive in location. Of course flexibility in other regards can be higher with new homes — customizing tiles and cabinetry, colour schemes, external finishes, etc. Of course, with resale, you do have the option of renovating to your tastes, should you choose to do so.

When looking at price the simple rule is there is no simple rule. New is not necessarily the better price, and resale is not necessarily more expensive. In fact, and hang on to your hats for this one, in today’s market new is almost never the better price per square foot buy. Resale homes of comparable quality and characteristics are actually cheaper than those brand new, especially after taking into consideration all closings costs and miscellaneous fees. Understanding that closing costs and initial moving costs are higher for new homes simply means that this debate cannot be settled on the basis of price. In other words, if you’re only concerned with price then purchasing a brand new home from the builder will likely prove to be your Plan B. When it comes to condo developments, at any given time, there will be one new development in the city that stands above the rest as a uniquely affordable deal.

The real, perhaps only, deciding factor to the new vs. resale debate is personal preference. Your family can profit just as much from a resale home’s appreciation as it might from a new home, and a new home can, in many cases, be just as convenient and comfortable as a resale. The question is what’s more valuable for you? Is it the feeling that can only come with knowing your home is brand-spanking, never been seen, sparkling new — or would you prefer a resale home in an already established neighbourhood? Do you want to see a brand new community grow all around you, or are you happier knowing exactly what you’re getting into?

The answer lies not in finding the better deal, value, location, price or whatever else. It actually lies in determining which type of home suits your family best.

Happy Hunting!

– Amit is a Realtor/Developer with Re/Max. amitp@rogers.com

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