The Pros and Cons of Buying a Resale Home – Part 2

Recently we wrote a series of blog posts to help you figure out if a new home or a resale home is a better fit for you. We talked about:

The pros of new construction
The downsides of new construction
The pros of resale homes

And today we’re going to talk about the downsides of resale homes.


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, and we reviewed those in a previous post.
But resale homes offer challenges as well. Some of the downsides our buyers have shared are listed below. Let’s take a look:
1. More maintenance. You can expect an older resale home to require more maintenance or repairs than a new home – and there’s no builder’s warranty to cover those items. And, unfortunately, there’s no predicting when systems and materials need to be replaced.
2. Big ticket expenses. Resale homes often require big repairs. Items such as roofs, foundations, or major systems can be substantial expenditures.
3. A shortage of storage. Many resale homes were built before a time when it was “mandatory” to have enormous master bedroom closets, three-car garages, and bonus rooms. That could translate to a lack of space for all your “stuff”.
4. “Dated” décor. Depending on the age of the home, it may not have all the latest bells and whistles that buyers want. This could mean a remodel of a kitchen and/or bathrooms to get the look you want.
5. Low or no technology options. Many resale homes lack the tech updates sought by today’s buyer. While these can be added in many cases, doing so is going to require some disruption to the home (and some cold hard cash as well).
6. Size matters. Because older homes are typically smaller than today’s new construction homes, you’re often looking at less square footage.
7. Functionally obsolete floorplans. New construction homes often feature floor plans designed for today’s living choices – open kitchens, bonus rooms, elaborate master bathrooms. Many resale homes lack these features.
8. Higher cost per square foot. This happens for two reasons 1) resale homes are often located closer to employers and amenities, and 2) resale homes are typically smaller than new homes. You may be able to purchase a 1,200 sq ft two-bedroom/1-bathroom home a five-minute drive to downtown Seattle for $900,000 while that same $900,000 could buy you a 3,500 sq ft new construction home with four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms in the suburbs of Maple Valley.

Next up? The seven reasons you need an experienced agent to help guide you through the new construction process. Watch for that blog post, coming soon.
If you have questions about new construction now and can’t wait for the next post, just reach out today. We’re here to help!







Marti Reeder, Realtor, Managing Broker