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Looking for a new home can be an exciting time, but also a stressful one.

That’s because there are so many decisions to make. Besides location, there are the must-haves you need, the nice-to-haves you want, and of course, the price. 

You must also determine whether building a new home or purchasing an existing one makes the most sense. While there is no single right answer for everyone, there are potential advantages and drawbacks for each of these options.

Here are some of the most important considerations to help you decide.

Building a New Home

There are many reasons why prospective homebuyers end up building from scratch instead of purchasing an existing property. 

  • Creative control: With a brand new house, your contractor can help you customize a wide range of features — from your floor plan to your siding to your countertops and beyond.
  • More tech-friendly: A new build can be wired from the beginning to support technologies that were never anticipated when many older homes were built. Modern electrical systems will more easily accommodate 21st Century communications, entertainment and security systems. 
  • Healthier home environment: New homes typically offer better indoor air quality with updated air filtration systems, low- or no-VOC paints and safer building materials. That makes them an ideal choice for allergy sufferers
  • More eco-friendly: A new build generally means a lower energy bill and a lower carbon footprint. Today’s building standards call for more efficient heating and cooling, better insulation and certified materials including siding, roofing, windows and doors. 
  • Lower cost of ownership: New homes usually require less time and money on maintenance and repairs. You can also get a warranty to cover any problems that do crop up in the first few years. 

While building a new home offers many advantages, there are some potential challenges.

  • It may take longer: According to the Census Bureau of Construction, it took an average of 7 months to complete a new home in 2019. This could be an issue for those needing to move in quickly.
  • Legal requirements: New construction projects must receive a permit to ensure compliance with applicable building codes. The land you’re building on may be subject to environmental regulations. You’ll also need to verify whether your home will be covered by local water services, or if you’ll need a well or septic system.
  • Upfront costs: A brand new home may be more expensive than a comparable older home. However, you may earn more profit if you decide to sell a newer home in the future. 

A qualified contractor is essential for getting the most out of a new build. Make sure your builder is properly licensed and insured, and always check with references. Finalize building specs before the shovel hits the ground, and maintain regular contact with your contractor throughout the process.

Buying an Existing Home

There are also many reasons why an existing home may meet your needs.

  • Shorter timeline: The average time to closing on an existing home is 44 days, or just over one month. As noted earlier, this may be a good choice for buyers who are on a short schedule — such as starting a new job or expecting a new baby. 
  • Desire for an established neighborhood: Some people simply prefer the look and feel of older communities with mature landscaping and traditional architecture. An existing home may also be located close to downtown areas. 
  • Cost: An existing home will usually cost less than a comparable new construction, but this is not always the case.


Older homes also come with a number of potential concerns that you’ll need to address. 


  • More compromises: With an existing home, it’s harder to get everything on your wish list. One property may have a beautiful master suite but too few bathrooms. Older homes often have smaller kitchens and are less likely to feature the open floor plans that are popular with today’s buyers.
  • Less eco-friendly: While many existing homes can be remodeled to improve energy efficiency, this can be expensive. Examples may include a new HVAC system, hot water heater and windows.
  • Complex purchase process: Buying an existing home involves a number of steps. These include getting preapproval from a lender, making offers and counter offers, completing inspections and signing paperwork. An experienced real estate agent will help you navigate this process.
  • Higher cost of ownership: While the purchase price may be lower, existing homes often come with other expenses that you’ll need to include in your budget. You may be faced with more frequent repairs, and you may need to spend money on renovations. 


Whether you’ve got a new build or remodeling project coming up, Mid-City Lumber has the quality materials you need to bring your dream home to life. For homeowners, contractors and designers looking to build and construct their own unique spaces, reach out to any Mid-City Lumber location in Columbia, Boonville, Jefferson City, Sedalia, or our Mid-City Design Center in Osage Beach, MO today to speak with our friendly experts!