New construction? Older home? What's right for you

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Real Estate

New Construction or Older Home?

Understanding the pros and cons of both can help you make the right choice.


Buying new



  • New construction will be built to the latest codes and standards
  • New construction tends to be more energy efficient, better insulation, energy efficient windows and appliances
  • Appliances are new and under warranty.
  • Maintenance and repairs should be minimal for several years.
  • If you buy early in the building process, you may be able to choose your siding and roof color and select flooring and countertops. Your agent can show you all the new construction going on in your desired community.
  • If you are building a custom home, you can choose the style, the layout and the surfaces you like.  In the Truckee/Tahoe area, lots are plentiful and you can choose your perfect location and design your perfect home around the view, slope, etc.
  • New home layouts are typically open floor plans designed for casual living which is desirable in today’s market.
  • If there is a lot of new construction going on in the area, builders may offer upgrades or closing cost incentives to encourage sales.


  • Cost per square foot will probably be higher than for an existing home.
  • Builders have a set price point for their homes and there is limited negotiating room on price, although other items may be negotiated into the purchase depending on new home demand and market (see below).
  • You most likely will have the expense of window coverings (but a possible negotiated item).
  • You may be need to pay for landscaping and/or sod or seeding (again a possible negotiated credit).
  • Builders come in all characters and styles. Some build quality products that they warranty for a designated period of time and others do not. Check with the Better Business Bureau, look online for comments or reviews, and check with your agent. Your local agent will probably be familiar with most of the builders in the area.


Buying an older home





  • There are more resale homes available than there are newly built homes in Truckee/Tahoe.
  • There is a lot of variety in terms of style and architecture.
  • Older homes often feature original hardwood floors or moldings that are harder to find these days.
  • Prices may be more negotiable.
  • Mature landscaping, established lawns and trees.
  • Window treatments are usually in place although they may not be your taste.



  • Surfaces (walls, floors, counters, etc.) may be worn or dated.
  • If appliances are older, they are no longer under warranty.
  • More maintenance and/or remodeling may be required.
  • Depending on the age of the home, you should expect less energy efficiency and more cost to heat and cool.
  • A thorough home inspection by a licensed professional inspector is a must. It may reveal problems such as a cracked foundation, electrical wiring issues, or a leaky roof. If the inspection reveals fixable flaws, your agent will propose the seller do the repairs or lower the price. If the repair is serious enough, it can affect a buyer’s financing and must be repaired before the house can be financed.
  • Expect the unexpected. Appliances quit, toilets leak, and furnaces fail as components age.



So what do you want? Is it new construction with that shining new home smell? Or a unique home with character that might need a little freshening? Even when you think you know exactly what you want, your search might reveal something you didn’t even know was important to you.  


Happy home hunting!