Homebuying: How to Choose Between New or Existing Dwellings

new apartments next to some...
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By AJ Smith

When it comes time to stop renting and you are ready to own a home, most people have to decide whether to buy a new home or an existing one. Here's what to consider as you make your decision.

Brand New

The smell of new house may not be as popular as the smell of new car, but there are some advantages to being the first to live in your home. One -- and this may seem obvious -- is that

Ultimately, you want to assess what works now and will work in the future.

everything in a new home is new. Appliances are still covered by warranties and have years or decades before they must be replaced.

In general, new homes require less maintenance. It will be years before you have to worry about replacing the roof, the water heater or the windows. New homes tend to have the latest energy-efficient and safety features.

There are some cons to consider. New homes generally cost more per square foot. Plus, sometimes people assume that because the home hasn't been lived in, it will be perfect. This can lead to disappointment when something goes wrong or breaks.

For new homes that you are able to customize, you may not get exactly what you always dreamed of. For example, you may have to compromise on cabinets because of cost. And you have no one but yourself to blame for that tile choice once you grow tired of it.

Slightly Used

Buying an existing home can be cheaper per square foot than buying new. You will be getting more value for your dollar. Plus, you can use that extra money to make renovations or improvements. In this way you can take the existing home and make it your own. If you are someone who enjoys do-it-yourself projects, this can even be fun.

When you buy an existing home, you can usually move in sooner than a new home that may have to be completed or customized. The time between picking your location and moving in can be much shorter. Plus, when you buy a new home there may be a lot of extras that you still have to take care of -- like choosing appliances or landscaping. In an existing home, these are typically included.

Know Yourself

The best way to decide which is right for you and your family is to consider the differences. Think about your strengths and needs. Ultimately, you want to assess what works now and will work in the future. If you need to move in soon and are looking to save money, buying an existing home can be best. If being the first to live in your house is important and you don't want to worry about maintenance, buying a new home might make the most sense.

Before you buy any home, it's important to make sure you know where your credit stands. You can pull free credit reports once a year from the major credit bureaus. You can also get a look at your credit scores using the free Credit Report Card, which shows you two of your credit scores and a breakdown of the major factors impacting your credit.

More from Credit.com about homebuying: Why You Should Check Your Credit Before Buying a Home How to Search for Your Next Home How to Determine Your Monthly Housing Budget

Pros and Cons of Buying a New Construction Home

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