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New Vs. Existing: Which is the Right San Diego Home for You?


Which type of San Diego home is right for you?

Is a brand new or pre-construction home in San Diego the right move? Will you find a better deal and more comfort in an existing home in San Diego County, CA?

Finding the Right Type of SoCal Home for You

There are many homes to choose from in San Diego County, California. In fact, it is one of the most diverse real estate markets in the world. Mountain estates, oceanfront mansions, affordable family homes, and urban city condos are all on offer. However, one of the biggest choices in buying a home remains the decision between new and existing properties. The truth is that there is no one right answer. The best choice really comes down to what is right for you. It’s important to know what’s most important to you, and which other factors play into the decision. Often the best answer will come down to your:

  • Goals
  • Talents and skills
  • Available time
  • Capital and ability to obtain credit
  • Other resources and assets
  • Purpose and intended use of this property, and property acquisition

Your choice may obviously vary whether you have a ton of cash, or have little cash or credit. Your other resources and goals, or what you expect this home to do for you, can also play a significant role in your final move. However, once you check out the following, you might not come to the conclusion you expected:

The Pros of Buying New Homes in San Diego

  • The new home smell
  • Potentially longer useable lifespan
  • Less anticipated property maintenance hassles and costs
  • Prestige
  • Home warranties
  • Built to current home styles

The Cons of Buying New Homes in San Diego

  • Not settled or proven to be solid and well-built yet
  • Many caught off guard by initial leap in property taxes
  • When overpriced can result in rapid devaluation like driving a brand new car off the lot
  • Young neighborhood or community with high vacancy rates and lack of track record for rentals
  • May require more cash out of pocket to acquire

The Pros of Buying Existing Homes in San Diego

  • Better value for the dollar
  • More home for the money
  • More negotiating power and flexibility in terms
  • Ability to add sweat equity
  • Mature neighborhoods with established residents

The Cons of Buying Existing Homes in San Diego

  • May need repairs and updating
  • May have occupants which need to move before you can use
  • May have a shorter useful lifespan
  • Could have title issues
  • May have to work with an emotional versus business minded seller

As a generalization, new homes might be for you if you are:

  • Thinking very long term
  • Are not relying on being able to cash out for big equity gains in the short term
  • Need a low management property, for example a second home you will rarely visit
  • Ego is of higher priority than value
  • You need the latest style but don’t have the time to remodel

On the other hand, an existing home in San Diego may be the best fit if:

  • You are seeking a value investment
  • You are seeking a reliable cash flow producing income property
  • Have the time and ability to make repairs or upgrades
  • Need more flexibility in financing, deal structuring, and closing
  • Want to choose your own title, insurance and mortgage vendors
  • Want your purchase to deliver sooner

The Third Option

There is another option. A hybrid option that checks all the boxes, and avoids the minuses of both new and existing homes:

Recently renovated San Diego homes can offer the superior value of existing homes, with all of the style and aesthetic beauty of brand new. This can make all the difference in maximizing your investment; whether this will be a rental property, vacation home, or new, year-round residence. It will typically take buyers of these properties less time to build up more equity, and their properties will last years longer, while retaining great appeal to renters and future buyers. In many ways they may even be more reliable than buying new construction.

Which is the right San Diego, California home for you?

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