Fixer-Upper vs. New-Build: Which is Right for You?

I don’t have to tell you how overwhelming an experience it can be when you make a move and look to find your next home. With so much to consider, this analysis of how the purchase of a ‘fixer-upper’ compares with buying new will help you get that process started!

Let’s start with the ‘fixer-upper’ — the house you buy knowing it will be a project in order to get it to where you want it to be. Let’s break it down:

Fixer-Uppers: The Good Stuff

  1. Lower Set Costs

Older houses that need lots of work typically will cost significantly less than ones that need little-to-no renovation work. The flexibility can allow you to minimize your mortgage by covering a higher percentage of the house’s price tag with your down payment. This can do wonders for your stress levels!

  1. A Home Created in Your Image

When you tear a room down and start from scratch, you get to build it back up exactly the way you would like it to be, from top to bottom. Fixing up different spaces can allow you to feel immense pride in every room you walk into, and feel confident that who you are shines through.

  1. Can Be a Fun Project

It’s okay to admit it… smashing walls down with various heavy objects can be lots of fun! Beyond being a healthy way to let out the stresses of everyday life, being hands-on and seeing projects from the beginning to their satisfying end can be quite the enjoyable journey; especially when you’re sharing it with other people!

  1. Every Bit of Work Increases the Home’s Value

Though there are particular renovations that can drastically increase your home’s market value more than others (i.e. flooring, fixtures, kitchens, and bathrooms), the bottom line is that taking a house that’s in rough shape and making it a beautiful home will greatly increase how much it’s worth. In this way, you can see the work as an investment!


Fixer-Uppers: The Challenges


  1. Hey, Budget — Meet Surprises!

Planning is super important, and you should try and make sure your renovations are as structured and specific as possible. That being said, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has undertaken the task of fixing-up a house without one, and sometimes multiple, costly setbacks and surprises. Budgets are great, but they can be incredibly tough to stick to without the benefit of fortune-telling capabilities!

  1. Costs Time & Energy

Ever hear the age-old mantra that “time is money”? Well, if it’s true, renovations can really cost you. It’s a lot of hard work, and it can take loads of your time, which is especially important to consider if you’re already working long hours and don’t have much time to spare.

  1. Affects Your Everyday Life

Depending on how severe and intrusive your projects inside the house will be, it will at the very least impact the ease of your daily life, and at worst will force you to rent or live elsewhere while important works needs to get finished. It’s good to understand that these interruptions will happen so you can account for them in different areas of your life.

Now for the new-buys:


New-Buys: The Good Stuff


  1. Super Convenient

Nothing screams convenience quite like being handed the keys to your home, getting any of the furniture and belongings you need inside, and going about your like in a fully-functional home. Whether newly built or recently renovated, homes that are move-in ready can be worth their weight in convenience alone.

  1. Newer Often Means More Energy Efficient

It’s not always common knowledge, but things like windows, doorways, HVAC technology, and other key areas of how your home is built will have pretty significant effects on your home’s energy efficiency, which affects your wallet and the environment. Newer houses typically have much more energy efficient appliances, better insulated windows/doors, and the latest technology that will make help everything run as it should.

  1. Financing Often Means More Energy Efficient

When it comes to loans and mortgages, financial institutions typically look more favourably on newer homes. In other words, it’s common for a homeowner to have an easier time securing a loan and getting a good mortgage when their home is newer than they would if they were moving into a house that is older and perhaps not in tip-top shape.


New-Buys: The Challenges


  1. More Expensive Up-Front

New-builds and newly renovated units are going to have a higher market value, and those price tags can sometimes feel intimidating. There are always financing options available, and a good agent will help you get the best price possible for any listing, but there is no way around the fact that a newly built home can be very expensive.

  1. Can Lack Character

So, you know you’re awesome and unique, and we definitely do too, but oftentimes new homes can lack the spunk and character of their owners. Modern appliances and trendy layouts are very attractive options for people, but there is something about an old Victorian or a worn-in space that can make a house truly feel like someone’s home.

  1. Blending in with Every House on the Street

New developments are often made up of units that are mirror images of each other. This approach, often referred to as “cookie-cutter”, can make your home blend in to the ones that surround it. If you like to stand out or have something unique about the curb appeal of your property, this can sometimes be difficult with a new-build.

So there you have it — the good and the bad when it comes to an age-old real estate question: should I buy new or take on the project of giving an older unit a facelift? The important thing is to remember that everyone will be looking for different things, and the answer will not be the same for everyone. Understanding the pros and cons, combined with taking time to understand what matters most to you, will ensure you make the right call.

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