The Pros and Cons of Buying a Resale Home – Part 1

Did you have a chance to read our previous blog post, on the advantages of buying a new home … and the one where we looked at the potential downsides of new construction?

If so, you learned that there are many benefits to new construction homes, and also some things that would make new construction homes unappealing to some buyers.


As a reminder, when it comes to buying a house, there are several options:

  • Buying a “resale” home; a home that’s been lived in previously.
  • Buying a new construction home; a home that’s built (or is under construction) but has never been lived in.
  • Buying land and building a custom home.

This post focuses on the pros and cons of resale homes, as compared to new construction.



There are many reasons that buyers decide to purchase resale homes rather than new construction. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  1. Larger yards. One of the first things buyers give up with a new home is the size of the lot. Typically, new homes have small lots; resale homes have lots that are typically much more generously sized.
  2. Established neighborhoods. Resale homes have often been in place for decades. That means that the neighborhoods around them have fully matured, and amenities have grown up around the area to serve homeowners. You know what you’re getting when you buy a resale home in an established neighborhood.
  3. No “cookie cutters”. Many resale homes were built at a time when developments were less “homogenous”. In addition, mature landscaping lends individuality to resale homes. That means, less of the déjà vu feeling you get when driving through a development of new homes.
  4. Reduced commute times. Resale homes are likely to be closer in to areas you want and need to go – such as employers, schools, and shopping. The more time you spend commuting, the less time you spend living!
  5. Charm and character. Many resale homes were built decades ago – or perhaps even a century or more ago! Some of these homes feature interesting architectural features such as stained-glass windows or custom-crafted banisters. You typically won’t find those kinds of details in new homes.
  6. A close-knit neighborhood. A resale home could be located in a neighborhood with a history of homes passed down through the generations. Often, neighbors have developed long-term relationships with one another and with nearby business owners.
  7. In many parts of the country, and certainly here in the greater Seattle area, there’s a shortage of buildable land. That means, unless you’re willing to drive quite far out, buying a new home may not be an option. In many communities there are simply more resale homes than there are new homes. If you are under the gun in terms of timing, a resale home may be your best bet.
  8. Knowing your expenses. With a resale home you can check the history of the utility costs and know what your property taxes will be for the coming year. With new construction, that information isn’t available. That could lead to some unpleasant surprises down the road if the tax assessment isn’t what you expected, or the utility costs are higher than projected.
  9. DIY to add value. A resale home gives you a chance to DIY to your heart’s content. Many people find DIY projects relaxing – and they’re a great way to not only personalize a home but also to add value through sweat equity.

So, you can see that resale homes – like new construction homes — offer many advantages to buyers. In our next post we’ll wrap up the “new vs resale” questions by sharing some of the downsides of resale homes.

In the meantime, we are here to answer all your home buying and home selling questions. Just let us know how we can help!


Marti Reeder, Realtor, Managing Broker