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To Buy New, or Buy Resale?

4 November 2012

When it comes to the type of home you’re going to buy, it’s something that a lot of people put a lot of thought into. Will it be one bedroom or two? A walk-up, or a bungalow? A condo, or a detached home? There are lots of decisions. But one that many don’t think about until they start looking at different homes is whether or not they should buy a new home, or buy a resale. Both have their pros and cons, and it’s largely a matter of personal choice. But when it comes time for you to make your personal decision, here are some things that you can keep in mind when looking at either.

New Home

  • One of the biggest reasons why homebuyers often look for a brand new home is because they can customize it any way they want – and it’s a good reason! With a new home you can select or upgrade to the exact items that you want in your home including siding, cabinets, plumbing, and electrical fixtures. If you want certain items, or want to change them in a resale, you’ll have to put in the time, money, and effort to change them yourself.
  • Another benefit to buying new, you can take solace in the fact that all the systems in your home – electrical, wiring, plumbing, etc. – have been installed using the latest standards and are up to the most current building codes. The condition of these systems can be a concern when buying a resale, especially if it’s a much older home.
  • New homes in most provinces, excluding Nunavet and the Northwest Territories, come with a new home warranty. This warranty usually lasts for one year and is your protection in case something should happen with your new home, such as the plumbing backs up or the heating system fails. You’ll never get this warranty with a resale home; or for that matter, a new home that you’ve built yourself.
  • But not everything’s perfect, and that includes new homes. One of the things you’ll also get with a new home that you won’t find on a resale are taxes. GST and HST will both probably be applied at the time you buy your new home, and you may be surprised to find out how much they can add up to be. If your home costs less than $450,000, you may be eligible for a rebate on these taxes. And if you’re buying resale, you won’t have to worry about them at all!
  • Another additional cost with new homes will be other items that help add to the beauty of your home, but that aren’t necessarily included in with the cost of the home. This includes things like landscaping, paved driveways, or a deck.
  • Many new homes are also built in new communities where no one has ever lived before. Because of this, some services such as schools and other amenities may not be in place for years after you move into your home.


  • When you move into a home that’s already been standing for years, the chances that the services around it have been, too. That’s why you’re more likely to find that, with resales, you’ll be right in the middle of lots of amenities such as shopping centres, schools, hospitals, etc. Also, if you want to be right in the middle of any city’s core, you’ll most likely have to buy resale, as newer communities are usually built in the suburbs, or away from the downtowns and city cores.
  • Want a fence? Landscaping’? Finished basement? With a resale, you may get all of these and more, all ready for you to move in and start using.
  • You typically won’t find that GST and HST are applied to resale homes, but there is a word of warning. If the home has had major renovations completed on it, it will be taxed just as though it were a brand new structure.
  • Of course, the biggest disadvantage that comes with buying resale is that the home may not be everything you had always imagined. Small renovations, such as flooring or paint, may be needed; and you may have to make major repairs as well, including things like windows and roofs. Making sure that you look at everything and get an inspection can save you from having to pay for too much of another person’s problems though.

Whichever you choose to buy – a new home or a resale – you want to be extra careful that it will be everything you want when you move in. Because of this, look at the home (or the plans or model home) very carefully, and be sure to include anything in the contract that you want done, such as that the windows need to be repaired, or that you want the dining room chandelier. Also make sure you get a home inspection so there are no surprises after you move in. Taking care of these two details will ensure that you get the home of your dreams – whether or not it was someone else’s first.

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