An Established Neighbourhood or a New Home?
Established neighbourhoods tend to have their own personalities, mature trees and often larger yards. Older building styles tended to lean toward higher, plaster ceilings, hardwood floors and decorative woodwork. Depending on the age of the home, it may require a little more maintenance. Established neighbourhoods are usually closer to the city.
Urban living usually puts you at the centre of the action. It offers a wide variety of amenities like shops, theatres and restaurants. It may be closer to your workplace. Of course, the drawback of an urban location could be a smaller, older or more expensive home. Look for schools (Public and Catholic), Playgrounds, Parks, etc. Make sure there are no undesirable areas surrounding your neighbourhood such as a garbage dump, industrious buildings disposing bad odours, etc.
The suburbs usually have the advantage of newer homes, and more square footage for the same price as an urban location, but may not have the other amenities as close as you'd like.
New neighbourhoods tend to have a noticeable lack of foliage and can look barren for years as the landscaping matures. If you purchase a home before it is built, you will be able to take advantage of upgrades during construction, and when you move in you can decorate to your taste. A new home won't have the charm of an old one, but will have warranties covering most major components. Be careful in understanding what the warranty covers. New homes have some real disadvantages that most people don't think of until it's too late.
New vs. Used
- When buying a new home, keep in mind that the representative you are dealing with at the new home site may not be a licensed real estate agent. The new home representative's best interest may lie with the builder and not you. In many cases, the builder will not allow your agent to protect your interests or help you prepare the agreement.
- The builder's agreements can be very one-sided in favour of the builder. Did you know that many agreements allow the builder to extend closing by 2-3 months twice, and then cancel the agreement if the house still isn't built?
- Your team of experts cannot fully protect you when buying a new home.
For example, your lawyer will not be able to force the builder to sell you a house that's not there yet. Whereas when buying a used home, your RE/MAX agent will be able to negotiate the price, and your mortgage expert will be able to arrange the best possible mortgage for you. If you do decide to buy a new home, try not to get confused with terms like "mortgage-paydowns" that are built into the price of the home.
- Remember, your home inspector will not be able to inspect a house that's not built yet and new homes are not always trouble free.
- As a new home buyer you may have to spend money on additional expenses like driveways, decks, landscaping, decorating, recreation rooms, air conditioning and fencing. If you want all of the above without having to go through all the hassles a used home might be the solution for you.