Why Buyers Are Moving Away From Resale

Exterior of elegant brick-front home with covered front and side porches, plus a balcony

New home vs. resale. It’s a common comparison among house hunters. After all, it’s always wise to do a little research before making an important life decision.

Although resales still appeal to some prospective buyers, certain concerns, like safety codes and energy efficiency, have many others opting to break ground on brand-new homes. Following are some additional reasons why some buyers may be moving away from resale:

      • Dingy/dirty living spaces. Most people can’t imagine renting—much less buying—a home that’s lost its luster, and who can blame them? A new home should be airy, fresh and—above all else—clean. Older resale homes may have smaller living spaces and lower ceilings, which can seem dark and drab compared to today’s open, inviting floor plans. And even if the previous owners give the home a thorough scrubbing before turning over the keys, wear and tear and signs of aging (e.g., stained carpet, grimy grout) will likely be evident.
      • Dated rooms. Homes typically reflect the architecture and style of the year in which they were built. And although smaller rooms, avocado green kitchen appliances and popcorn ceilings were all the rage in decades past, many of today’s homebuyers are drawn to open layouts, neutral shades and modern fixtures and finishes. Sure, tired kitchens and bathrooms and miniscule master closets can be renovated—but doing so may be costly, time consuming and inconvenient.
      • Old-fashioned fixtures/finishes. Another potential drawback of buying a resale home is inheriting outdated or unusual décor (e.g., busy wallpaper, ornate chandeliers) that can be difficult and/or expensive to replace. And even if there are beautiful hardwoods buried beneath the circa-1978 carpeting, refinishing them may also prove costly. With a brand-new home, buyers can choose from a wide assortment of modern finishes and fixtures, and they won’t have to spend time and energy retrofitting their space to match their taste.
      • Odors. Off-putting odors don’t typically top homebuyers’ wish lists, and certain scents—like stale cigarette smoke and pet urine—are hard to mask, even with a fresh coat of paint. Many buyers are choosing to save themselves the (literal) headache of inheriting someone else’s stinky spaces in favor of that fresh, brand-new home smell.
      • Rooms converted into other rooms. Just because the previous owners thought it was a brilliant idea to transform the garage into a guest room doesn’t mean all buyers are on board with the decision. Garages-turned-guest rooms, bedrooms-turned-closets…These “improvements” may not be easily or economically reversed. With a brand-new home, buyers can select the floor plan and options that work best for them.
      • Unwanted “extras.” Even a seemingly ideal resale home can include features, such as swimming pools or hot tubs, which may be deal breakers for buyers who are worried about safety, increased insurance premiums and pricey water bills. Choosing a new home over a resale is a great way for buyers to ensure they’re not getting features they don’t want.

For more information about how a new home compares to a resale, see New home or resale? and New home vs. resale home: Maintenance edition. Keep following our blog for timely tips and new home resources!