The Benefits of a Resale Home
Most buyers buy resale homes. In fact, in 2007, 77 percent of buyers bought a resale home. The price of a resale home tends to be less than a newly built home. In the most recent statistics, an existing home's median price was $199,000, compared to $260,000 for a new home (mid-2006–mid-2007).
There are other pluses of the resale home:
The neighborhoods in which they are situated are usually finished. You won't find that stark, barren look of the new development.
Houses of a certain vintage were sturdily constructed, with solid basements, thick plaster walls, and other materials that are not likely to be used these days because they are prohibitively expensive or just not available anymore.
Older homes have architectural and design features not incorporated in most of today's new houses — again, because of cost.
There is, of course, a flip side to all the charm of the old house. Who needs an ancient heating system? Who wants a design that may seem dated rather than charming? What about the expense of replacing old windows or bringing a 1950s kitchen into the twenty-first century or upgrading electrical service?
Ask sellers for the current monthly or annual cost of electricity, water, gas, heating, and sewage bills so you can get a ballpark figure of what those utilities would cost you if you bought their home.
Despite these issues, most homebuyers choose to buy a resale home rather than a new one. You may be looking at a resale home because you cannot afford the new house you would otherwise prefer. Or maybe you prefer the proximity to the city center of older homes in established communities, whereas a brand-new house would mean a long commute. You may be aiming at the resale market because you just like the character of lived-in houses.
If you have reservations about a resale home, if you are not completely sure, don't rush; you never know what house will soon hit the market. And in the resale home market, the quality of one home may be much different than another home of the same price.