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New or resale house? The pros and cons

Posted by on Jun 17, 2011 in Investments, Moneyville | 0 comments

By Sheryl Smolkin

Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca 

After renovating an old house and then buying a new house in the suburbs, we think we finally got it right with our current home which is close to the Finch subway station.

Ten years ago, the builder assembled three large lots with small bungalows, tore them down and built five new two- story detached homes. We got the end unit surrounded by a park. We have an energy efficient furnace, the house is fully wired for Internet and it was a lovely blank, clean canvas to decorate.

I thoroughly enjoy working at home in my cheerful, bright office. When I do have to go downtown for meetings in off peak hours, I walk to the subway in five minutes and I always get a seat.

But whether to buy a new house or a resale is a very personal decision. Here are a few of the things you should consider before making up your mind.

Location:
If you want to live in a built up neighbourhood, close to public transportation you will generally opt for a resale home. Unless you can get an infill house in an old neighbourhood, new homes tend to be in a suburban area which can mean a much longer daily commute.

Cost:
In a new development you will typically get more house for your money. But depending where you work, you also have to figure in the cost, wear and tear of an hour or more of travel each way. Furthermore, resale homes generally already have paved driveways, fences, decks and landscaping which you will have to shell out for on top of the initial purchase price of a new home.

Layout:
Older homes often have traditional layouts. It may be possible to add another bedroom, an ensuite bathroom, an upgraded kitchen or a main floor family room.  However, renovating can be hard on both your nerves and your wallet. When you buy a home from the plans, you can select the layout you prefer and in some cases you can even customize. You also get to chose from a broad selection of paint colours, kitchen cabinets, counter tops, carpet and flooring.

Maintenance:
Upkeep for an older home can be more expensive because of older appliances, plumbing and electrical systems. You may need a new roof or a new furnace  sooner than you think. Old windows and inadequate insulation can drive up heating bills. In contrast, every new home in Ontario is protected by a mandatory warranty provided by the builder and guaranteed by Tarion.

What I’m hoping is that someone will decide to build new, affordable infill bungalows close by so for the next chapter we can have the best of all worlds – a new home on one floor in an established neighbourhood that is also accessible to public transit.

And the icing on the cake would be if our wonderful neighbours keep their promise to buy the house next door.

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