Buying a new home in Charlotte, or anywhere for that matter, all comes down the process of weighing pros and cons. Whether you are comparing new to old, two older homes, or two different neighborhoods, it’s helpful to make a list of things you love and things you don’t about each option. While some decisions are easy, we know that it can be hard to decide between building a brand new home or buying an existing one, and there is a case to be made on both sides. To help you choose, we’ve listed out the pros and cons of buying new and used homes here in the Charlotte market.
Pros of a Building a New Home in Charlotte
Build Your Perfect Home. When you build a custom or semi-custom home, you create the home of your dreams. Whether you need more bedrooms, an open kitchen, or even flex space that can be turned into anything, you can plan it out exactly how you’d like, then watch it come to life. When you build new, you are moving into the home that’s perfect for you — no renovations, no painting, no worries.
Build Anywhere. When you build new, you have your choice to build anywhere that land is available. Whether that’s in one of Charlotte’s most desirable neighborhoods, or a little further out alongside a beautiful river or surrounded by farmland, where you live is completely up to you.
All New Everything. Let’s face it — there’s nothing quite like brand new appliances, carpet, and fixtures that have never been used, stepped on, or soiled by another person. When you move into a new home, you are the first to use everything, and that’s always good for peace of mind.
Up to Code & Energy Efficient. When you buy a new home, you can rest assured that the electric, gas, and plumbing systems are all up to code for safety and efficiency. And with energy-efficient construction materials and techniques, owners of new homes can expect to pay 17% less in electricity and 38% less in gas bills than owners of older homes (U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey).
Home Warranty. Just about all new homes come with a builder’s warranty that covers certain materials, workmanship, systems, and components. Builders want customers to be 100% satisfied and would rather pay to fix any issues rather than face an unhappy homeowner.
Cons of Building a New Home in Charlotte
Longer Timeframe. Good things come to those who wait, and that’s certainly the case with new homes. Building a new home in Charlotte can take about 9-10 months, depending on factors like land condition and the permitting process. If you have the means to wait, you’re guaranteed to love the outcome.
Pros of Buying a Used Home in Charlotte
Move in Right Away. This is perhaps the most important pro of buying a used home. If you need to move in right away, chances are that you can. Most used homes in Charlotte take about 30 – 45 days to close from the time of contract, so you can begin planning your move right away.
Cons of Used Homes in Charlotte
Limited Inventory. Used homes are in limited supply in the Charlotte area. The area’s population boom coupled with pandemic-driven interest in home ownership have led homes to stay active on the market for just 13 days, on average. Like all commodities, when supply is low, demand goes up, and so does pricing. Home prices in Charlotte have increased by nearly 23% year-over-year, often due to bidding wars.
Updates and Improvements are Inevitable. In Charlotte, the median home age is 28 years. Inevitably, you will need to do some renovations — like knock down walls or expand rooms — to make your home feel open, modern, and spacious. Plus, buying new appliances, installing new electric or plumbing systems, or fixing a roof can really add up. Every home needs maintenance at some point, but with a home built in the 1990s or earlier, you’ll need to do more of that maintenance right away.
Not Your Style. When you buy a used home, chances are it’ll be decorated in a way you wouldn’t have necessarily chosen. Whether it’s changing the paint, flooring, or window treatments, redecorating can be expensive and tiresome.
Higher Utility Bills. We touched on this above in the pros of building a new home, but it’s worth restating here. Homes from 28 years ago did not have energy-efficiency built into their blueprints, and the advanced materials that are standard in new homes today weren’t thought of back then. In an older house, expect to pay about 30% more in utilities.
More Home Maintenance. It’s a fact that older homes require more maintenance. Whether it’s sealing and painting the siding every few years, replacing screens and gutters, or repairing cracks in pavement or worn out fencing, you can plan on spending several hours a week on home maintenance, right from the beginning.
No Home Warranty (or a very limited one). For used homes, some sellers throw in 1-year home warranties as part an incentive to close, but these pale in comparison to builder warranties. These limited warranties cover only certain parts of appliances, and only under certain conditions. While they can save you a couple of dollars if you need to buy new parts, they won’t help much if an older system completely fails.
There are pros and cons to every home, and ultimately, you’ll make the right choice for your budget, needs, and lifestyle. For a more complete new vs. used home comparison, plus a checklist to use while out home shopping, be sure to download our guide,