Buying vs Building a Home title over a white single story home

You've decided your dream home from a few years ago just isn't your dream home today. The single sink in the master bathroom isn’t cutting it. The kids are getting bigger and sharing a room really is not feasible anymore. And, no matter how many late-night Pinterest sessions you’ve embarked upon, that awkwardly shaped room still isn’t styled the way you’d like.

So, what now? The decision of buying vs. building a new house is a tricky one, especially when you don’t know where to start. While there are certainly benefits to both routes, it’s important to weigh your options to ensure you are making the right choice. To help make that decision a little easier, here are a few pros and cons to consider before buying or building your new home.

What to Expect When Buying a Resale Home

Family of four standing beside a for sale sign outside their new home.


Below is a list of some of the pros you should be aware of when buying a resale home:

Move-In Quickly
While escrow can sometimes be a little tricky to navigate, the timeline to move into an existing home is often pretty straightforward. Once the papers are signed and you’ve closed (depending on your contract with the seller) you can pack your things and move in. The convenience of being able to move in right away is particularly beneficial for buyers in a time-crunch, such as those who are relocating to start a new job, or those whose children may be starting a new school.

Customize to Fit Your Changing Lifestyle
Being able to live in your home for a while as you make it yours can be a great way to ensure you’re adding to it in a way that suits your lifestyle. Buying a resale home may be a great option for buyers who may not have the time or money available to make an upgrade within the first few months of moving in. Plus, if you’re the type whose design preferences change relatively often; it may be better to wait to remodel until you’ve settled on a decision.

You See What You Get
When purchasing an existing home, you get to see the exact house that you will be buying. When looking at model homes for a new construction build, you may see an overall layout of how your home will be set up, but differences also may come up when going through the process of customizing your new home. When buying an existing home, you can see the home’s layout, features, and design the moment you walk in.

Move to an Established Neighborhood
Buying an existing home in an established neighborhood may be a better option for those who prefer to live closer to work, school, family, or friends. This is especially true if you have children and you wish to live in a particular school district, where plots of empty land are few and far between. Moreover, moving to an established neighborhood usually also means you’ll have complete landscaping, so you won’t have to worry about starting a lawn, installing irrigation systems, or waiting for trees to grow.


There are disadvantages to everything. Below is a list of the potential cons of buying an existing home:

There May Be Hidden Maintenance Issues
While you may be able to see everything on the surface, there may be hidden issues in existing homes that are harder to find, such as issues with the foundation, plumbing or roof. While an inspection can uncover many of these issues, it isn’t guaranteed.

Renovations Can Disrupt Your Life
While you may hope to find everything you’re looking for in an existing home, it isn’t always feasible. Larger renovations or updates may be disruptive if you need to plan around your day-to-day living arrangements. Whether this means living without a kitchen, a bathroom, or even moving to a hotel while the renovations are taking place, understanding the physical and financial implications is a must. If you are renovating an older home, it’s especially important to prepare for any unexpected problems and the additional costs you may incur as a result.

An Existing Home Won’t Always Have Everything
One of the most significant disadvantages of buying an existing home is that you may not be able to get exactly what you want. Maybe the floor plan isn’t quite as open as you’d hoped, the kids might not get their own bathrooms, or maybe the closet in the master just isn’t quite as big as you want it to be. It will be challenging to find a home that ticks all your boxes, so you’ll need to decide what compromises you’re willing to make.
Older Homes Can be Less Energy Efficient
No matter where you live, energy bills can be a significant cost to consider. If you are moving to an older home, it is likely that the home is somewhat less energy efficient than its newly built counterparts. So, if you’re looking to keep your energy costs down at your new place, it may be a good idea to look into buying a newer home or investigate some ways to create a more energy-efficient home.
Bidding Wars
Another cost of buying a new home can be paying more than you originally anticipated. Depending on the area and the market, you may face some competition for a house. Expect some stressful bidding wars and be sure to understand your financial budget.


couple standing in construction home looking at blueprint


Below is a list of some of the pros you should consider when building a new home:

You Get to Personalize Virtually Everything to What You Want
With new built homes, you get to be at the forefront of the design process! Do you want that open kitchen with the extended island you’ve always wanted? A guest bathroom that is conveniently located? A walk-in pantry with built-in shelves? No problem! Of course, all of those decisions you have to make aren’t for naught! You’re making them so your home is exactly what you want and what works for your family. Whatever you don’t like about your current home, or that you’ve been dreaming of having in a home, can be fully realized.

You Get the Newest Features
You can expect to have access to more energy-efficient features, modern home designs and floorplans, and building materials that are more environmentally friendly compared to many older materials. Additionally, these items are typically covered by a homebuilder’s warranty. Learn more about Shea’s energy-efficient Pure Living packages, and SheaConnect™ smart home features.

Everything is Brand New
Ahhh, that new home smell! When you build your home, everything is brand new and never used before, which can be quite the draw for some home buyers. With the value you’ll get out of these new materials, you may not even have to think about replacement costs any time soon.

New Homes are More Energy Efficient
New construction homes are built with the latest advances in construction materials and building practices, which of course, result in a beautiful, modern home. These advances are also incredibly energy efficient and give new homeowners the added benefit of reduced monthly utility bills. With smart thermostats and wall switches, energy efficient appliances, and even touchless faucets, there are a variety of ways that a new home can help you save on your energy bill. Learn more about How To Save Energy With Smart Home Upgrades.


Below is a list of the potential cons of building a new home:

Waiting to Move-In
Unlike purchasing a pre-existing home, deciding to build your home means you’ll be entering into a construction timeline. So, instead of closing on a home, packing up your boxes into trucks and moving in, there is a period where you will watch your home being built before your eyes. This can be an exciting time as your home begins to take shape all to your specifications and customizations options, but it’s best to expect at least 6 months for your home to be built (and this timeline could change based on weather, included features, the home builder you choose, and additional factors).

If a prolonged timeline isn’t something you’re ready for – but you loved the model homes you toured – try looking for a quick move-in home. These homes have been customized by a designer and have set availability dates that you can align with your desired moving date.

Too Many Decisions Can be Overwhelming
Some future homeowners revel in the idea of choosing each and every item for their new home, while others may find the experience overwhelming. Having too much choice is definitely a thing, and starting on a blank canvas can certainly give you that.

Spending a day (or a few) in a home design studio will quickly give you the insight into how many options there are. If you know you’ll have some trouble making a decision, here are a few tips to consider when choosing a floor plan for a new home.

Difficulty with Loans
When building a new home, be sure to factor in some extra time to go through the loan process. Land loans are often harder to obtain due to the lack of collateral. Not to mention the higher down payment and higher interest rate to offset the risk to the lender.

Before you can even start the building process, the plot of land will need to be cleared out and prepared for a safe building process. Depending on the area, you may also need to wait for the installation of utilities as well. Patience is most certainly a virtue when building a new home, but the reward can definitely be worth the wait.

Building a New Home with Shea Homes®

At Shea Homes, we pride ourselves on providing the highest level of customer service throughout your new home building process. Take a look at what a few of our current homeowners have to say about their experience building a new home with Shea Homes.

“This being by far the single most important financial and lifestyle decision we may ever have made, we have never for a moment doubted our decision. The entire staff have made the process enjoyable and rewarding, and we are most impressed with the dedication of all to create a product of the highest quality.”

- The Kent Family, Shea Southern California Homeowners.


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