The Downfalls Of Buying A New Build

October 27 will mark our one year anniversary in this house. It's hard to believe it's already been a year! So, with the upcoming anniversary, my hubby and I had to complete our one year warranty paperwork, so that the builder can come fix anything that has broken, cracked etc. within the past year. We did the same thing after we had been in the house for a month, and those fixes were mainly due to poor workmanship. The fixes for the one year are typically due to the house settling and seasonal changes. So, it's quite common to have more structural fixes rather than cosmetic ones.

I'm a huge fan of new things. I mean, come on, who isn't, right? I have only ever owned new houses, new cars, and I love me a new pair of shoes. This isn't to say that I would only ever buy a new house. In fact, after the headaches that we've been through with the build of this house, if we ever do move again, it will be to a previously-loved home that we'll make our own. We all know that I love me a project!

But, when it comes to buying a new build, there are plenty of pros and cons associated. Let's quickly look through the list of pros before we tackle the downfalls of buying a new build.

FAIR WARNING: this is a beefy post!


1. It's new. Plain and simple. No one has used that toilet before (that you know of), and there's no questioning what's in your carpet.

2. You get to customize your layout, structural changes, and finishes. There's nothing like walking into your home and knowing that it's exactly (or pretty much) what you had wanted. Which means, you won't be facing huge renovation changes to an outdated kitchen or otherwise shortly after moving in. This isn't to say that you won't be making changes, but ideally, if you're buying new, these changes should be minimal.

3. The layout and options in your new build home often reflect modern ways of living - walk-in closets, large ensuites, open concept main floors, and the use of great rooms. This in itself is a great pro. Modern layout = less renovations = less money spent = happy homeowner.

4. Overall, buying a new build home means that you are given a clean slate. For some, this can be daunting with everything that needs to be done (ie: fencing, landscaping, deck/patio, interlock, etc.), but for some it could mean an endless array of options to suit your needs. Much like your interior, you can make the exterior of your home into your dream and you don't have to worry about removing the previous owner's work.


1. In response to pro #2, customizing the look of your home may be a great thing, however it doesn't come cheap. In fact, these options are usually so overpriced that you really need to question why on earth you would pay $15 per square foot of hardwood flooring, when you can easily get the same thing at Home Depot for $4.99 per square foot. Overall, to get the look you want, you'll need to pay for it, and sometimes that means through the nose.

Case and point: we put in about $25,000 in upgrades into this home. But, let it be known that we were given $20,000 as a credit towards these upgrades as a bonus for buying in the new community. With this amount, we were able to upgrade all the cabinets, add ceramic tile to all the wet areas (bathrooms, kitchen, mud room), hardwood flooring throughout the main floor, add potlights to the kitchen, a few electrical upgrades here and there including soffit lighting, and some structural changes including swapping out the loft for a fourth bedroom. Had we not had the $20,000 design bonus, we would have kept the home fairly standard and done the work ourselves, with the exception of the fourth bedroom.

2. Buying a new build often means having your home built quickly to meet tight deadlines. This often means shoddy workmanship and poor quality materials. For example, the paint used throughout our home was "juiced". This means that the painters watered down our paint. The reason for this, you ask? Well, it became aware to us that this painting team would tell their company they bought 2 buckets of paint, were reimbursed for 2, when they only bought 1 and watered it down. This means that the homeowners (ie: my hubby and I) were given a finished home with not only poorly painted walls, but paint that easily removes when wiping the walls. After complaining to the builder and asking for the home to be repainted with the colours of our choice (since I don't like the wall colour and was willing to provide the paint out of my own pocket), we were offered a repainting of the home but with one coat and in the same colour as what was on the wall. We declined. This way I can be certain that when the home is painted again, it is to our liking and with quality paint and workmanship.

This pic shows how the painters painted our ceiling of the main floor as you walk up the stairs to the upper level. Obviously, paint on the ceiling is a no-no.

3. This con is closely related to con #2. It deals with shoddy workmanship. The structural pillar that we have next to our staircase on the first floor, looks something like this right now...

Looks like the pillar is pretty much hollow behind the metal corner supports, and with the house settling, the drywall has all started to chip away. I'll let you know what comes of this when the builder inspects it.

4. Landscaping. Or lack thereof. Usually when you first take possession of your new home, you are still living in a construction site. This comes with the territory and you are usually fully aware of this when you sign the dotted line. At least for a year or so after you move, you'll experience the noise, the dust, and the constant construction crew. On top of that, you'll need to deal with the landscaping. All builders will sod your front and back lawns (sometimes before you move, but usually within the first year). In addition, you'll usually be given a tree or trees. I say "usually" because it depends where you live and the city code. For us, since we are on a corner lot, we were given 3 "trees". I'm sure you're wondering about the quotation marks. Well, here's the "tree" that was planted on our front lawn...

It's a lilac bush. Yup, lilac. In fact, the entire street is littered with lilac bushes. Now, I'm not insulting the lilac. Sure, it's pretty and can smell nice (in the right quantity). However, a tree this is not. Needless to say, it will be removed come spring and a real tree (ie: evergreen, maple, etc) will be planted in it's place. I will do my best to find the lilac a new home as I would hate for a perfectly good tree, ... errr bush, to go to waste.

I know that I could probably write a book-length post about all the pros and cons associated with buying and building a new home, however I feel like I've rambled on for 18 pages - front and back! (Friends reference, anyone?) Congratulations if you've made it this far! You're a trooper and deserve a gold star! I'm fresh out of stars, but I can give you this...

Happy Wednesday!

(psst... tune in tomorrow for my post on selecting the new cabinet hardware for the bathroom update).

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