The ups and downs of both existing and new construction homes:
We work with buyers and sellers. We work with realtors and builders. We aren't endorsing one versus the other, we aren't suggesting any type of new build vs another, and we hope when we're done with this mess you have stronger feelings one way or the other.
Have you gone to the local home improvement store lately? If not, the next time you're there, look at a sheet of drywall or a 2x4 and check the price. Ask somebody that may know a rough costs 10, heck 5 years ago. It is no lie, costs of construction are significantly higher. But this will be a factor for both. Let's see how...
Builders may get discounts, but they pay for every bit of supplies that does in to your home. Every nail and bead of caulk, every board, shingle and piece of cement. They are also paying for deliveries and labor to complete projects. That is why it is near impossible to find a new construction home below $250,000 in today's market. We can debate just how much money a builder should make, but it is not a good business plan for them to build for much less than that number. If you're looking to build - either independently or with a large builder in a sub - expect prices to be at or above this price point regardless of city or neighborhood.
On the other hand, if you buy an existing home, you can expect there to be some changes you wish to make to the home. Additionally, there may be home improvements that are necessary now or in the near future. That means you're buying the materials at these sky high prices, and you don't even get a bulk discount. However, the cost per square foot for existing homes tends to be significantly lower.
New construction is NEW! Duh. But seriously, nobody has ever lived there, nobody has ever clogged those pipes, nobody has ever had a weekend DIY project. It's all yours and for the most part, it's how you wanted it or at least how you picked it. Just note, the house will be settling and expect things like nail pops and possible separation or movement. Some of this is standard, some is unexpected. Keep an eye on it and never hesitate to ask a professional if it is in fact normal.
Existing construction has already gone through settling and some wear. The owner has (hopefully) filled out Seller's Disclosures truthfully and completely. You will have a private inspection to look for unknown problems. But there MAY be problems that could absolutely not be seen. There may have been a major malfunction 20 years ago, before this owner even lived there, that was completed by an unlicensed and unskilled non-professional (maybe that weekend DIYer I spoke of earlier).
New construction is typically the house and one, maybe two colors of paint. You're left to re-paint the home (best to wait a year in many instances), window treatments, provide lawn and possible irrigation, landscaping, decks or patios, and while not all existing homes have finished basements there aren't any new construction homes that have them.
Existing homes are typically sold with the window treatments on the windows and always sold with existing yards. What you see is what you get and typically, there won't be additional large expenses after closing. Landscaping alone could cost anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to tens of thousands depending on area and preferences (and possibly even requirements of your HOA). These are things you don't have to consider when they're already done.
These are just a few of the major considerations.