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New vs. resale Which home is right for me

New vs. resale Which home is right for me?

When it comes to major life decisions, it doesn’t get bigger, more exciting or nerve-wracking than buying a home. But what does buying a new home really mean? For many, buying a new home translates to purchasing a previously-owned-and-occupied house or condo on the resale market. From bidding wars to flipping properties, the resale market is the subject matter of countless TV shows, books and articles as it is how most homes are bought and sold in Canada. For others, buying a new home means having a new condo or house built just for you. In this case, you will be the first to live in the home. Unless it’s a custom build, a new home is typically part of a bigger building or community of new homes under construction by a real estate developer.

If budget and timing are not issues (lucky you!), then you may consider a custom home. But for the vast majority of Canadian homebuyers, the decision to buy resale or to buy new from a developer boils down to a handful of considerations.


If you want to buy and move-in within weeks, the resale market is an obvious place to look. When you buy new or from a plan however, your new home’s construction is scheduled and forecasted at the time of sale. This often gives buyers the opportunity to save up before closing and plan life changes like a new job or new school before the big move.



Whether to buy new or resale depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a very mature and established neighbourhood, you may prefer resale. A new home may work better for you if you want to be part of a new community with new facilities and amenities. Condos exist in both established and up-and-coming neighbourhoods, so they offer a wide variety of lifestyles to choose from. New homes are available in urban areas too and may be a consideration when looking to harmonize space needs and lifestyle.



If you are comparing prices of new and resale properties in the same area, property values and taxes will be similar. That being said, there are a few ways that you can save money with new builds that don’t work for resale. The first is choosing to represent yourself in the sale, rather than working through a real estate agent. When buying resale, it is unwise to buy without a licensed real estate agent because it is hard to assess the quality of the home on your own and determine the right price. If you buy new, you can safely purchase without an agent if you prefer, because it is easier to assess quality. In addition, buying a new build in the pre-construction phase allows you to get ahead of the market to select the best home at the best price for you.



If decor matters to you, then buying new is the way to go. With resale, what you see is what you get, so if you don’t like the kitchen or bathroom, you’ll have to live with it or take on renovations. In a new home, you have the opportunity to customize your finishes to your tastes before the home is built. You can also choose wall colours, cabinets, countertops, fixtures and floors that speak to your style and vision for the home.



Chances are a newly designed condo or house will offer floor plan layouts that maximize square footage, offer more natural light and deliver features that better meet the needs and wants of modern residents. You may not notice the difference right away, but a well-planned layout featuring options like a planning centre/homework station for the kids off the kitchen or dual sinks in the master bath will improve your enjoyment of the home in the long run.



Amenities are shared spaces (like gyms, pools and rooftop decks) and shared services (like a concierge, security and maintenance) in condo buildings that owners pay for via condo fees. As a building ages, maintenance costs for amenities increase and condo fees rise. For this reason, a new build will give you better quality amenities for a lower cost. Whether you decide to go new or resale, a good rule of thumb before you buy is to ask yourself if you’ll actually use the amenities you’ll be expected to pay for. When purchasing a new low-rise home, amenities may have been built new as part of the community that you and your family can enjoy, such as parks, schools, sports facilities or walking trails. Although public and open to anyone, you can enjoy closer proximity to these facilities when purchasing in a new community, and there are no additional maintenance fees associated.



If peace-of-mind is top-of-mind, then buy new. When you buy a new house or condo in Ontario, you are covered under warranty by Tarion. As per Tarion requirements, you will conduct a pre-delivery inspection (PDI) of your new home. Combined with building code, Tarion is one of the reasons why Ontario’s new homes consistently meet very high construction standards and major home systems are covered after you move in.



If reducing your environmental footprint and keeping maintenance costs manageable is important to you, then a new home can make it easier. Homebuilding has seen significant changes in construction techniques and energy saving standards that translate to a better insulated, more comfortable and quality home for the buyer.



It stands to reason that the newer the house, the less maintenance and repair it requires. But new or resale, protecting your investment with routine maintenance is a must. If you’re just not up to cleaning eavestroughs or cutting lawns, consider a condo instead. You can enjoy a low-maintenance, high-quality of life, especially with the right amenity mix on offer.

Toronto Star

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