on Jun 30, 2021 1:00:17 AM

Buying a New Home Vs. Tackling a Renovation

When you are ready to move, the decision between renovating a home that needs some TLC or choosing a new build can be a difficult one. There are pros and cons to both options and with so many things to take into consideration, it can be a tough choice to navigate without considering all the factors. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or seasoned in real estate, the choice isn’t always clear so let us break down some options to consider. 


This is a big factor for most buyers. Homes that need work may come at an overall lower price point upfront, before materials and renovation costs are added. But when considering costs, it may be a surprise that buying a new home is often less expensive, especially when the interest rates are as low as they are right now. Renovating is a big expense in most cases, and it can be difficult to budget with so much uncertainty regarding the unseen. For example, the walls you want removed always seem to be loadbearing. In some cases, like what the industry is experiencing today, materials and delivery delays may play a big factor in increasing cost and time. Checkout this article to see how some renovations hit delays due to high lumber prices. 

There are also post-purchase costs to consider.  Newer homes are generally more efficient and require less maintenance in the short term; meaning utilities cost less and there are fewer unexpected costs associated with the home in the first few years following move-in. If you can do the work yourself, renovations may save you money, but they can then take over your time.  


Renovating has some clear drawbacks in timeline, such as coordinating all the contractors and steps can be like herding cats. On the other hand, with a general contractor or a project manager, the renovations may run more smoothly (and save you from being the project manager, which can be an additional full-time job). If you don’t need to move out of your current home, it can make waiting on the renovation much easier, while living through a renovation is difficult and dust gets everywhere! New builds are not always ready for you to move in – sometimes there are choices to be made and time to wait. You may have to make decisions on finishes like flooring (Hubbell offers design services to help you add a personal touch to your new home), but again consistency and continued oversight are key advantages to buying new. If you find yourself in between housing for a new build or renovations, Hubbell Apartment Living offers rental communities across central Iowa, with apartment and townhome options to meet a variety of space needs.  

Work/Sweat Equity 

The amount of work involved in moving is always a bear, but it is a very different type of work with buying new vs renovating. New homes are naturally ready to be moved into, while renovating can be a lot of work, especially if you are into DIY. On one hand, doing the work yourself can save a ton of money, but on the other, following YouTube tutorials can only get you so far in a renovation. Unless you know how to do it all, you will need to outsource some of your labor (or beg family and friends). Doing the work yourself can also add time and undue stress, depending on the intensity of the project. When it’s finished, there can be something nice about living in a home you have worked on yourself and you can be proud for getting it done. If you choose to hire out all the work, the two choices can be a close tossup. 


Every renovation has potential within the working bones of the existing house. Whether it’s one room or redesigning the entire floorplan, you – the homeowner and designer – get to independently select every finish and modification on your own. You can choose whether to consult an expert, read reviews online or choose personal preferences for reconstruction, materials and selections.  

When you build a new home or purchase a move-in ready home from a homebuilder, many of these selections are either made for you or you get to make informed selections along Design Studio experts. If you build a personalized home, you will work with professional general contractors during the construction, designers for all exterior and interior choices, and have zero labor behind your choices. If you are looking for a move-in ready home to move immediately, some of these choices may have already been made for you. While you may lose on some of the selection experience, know those selections were still handpicked by experts in the industry who designed your move-in ready home.  

For example, Hubbell Homes offers both move-in ready and semi-personalized homes in more than 20 communities across Central Iowa. The Discovery Collection is a set of homes with pre-selected finish packages aimed at making the personalized homebuilding process faster and easier! The Hubbell Homes Design Studio is another great resource for personalizing your new home. Our team at the design studio can walk you through the selection process of each finish in the planning of your build, or the final touches in the purchase of your turnkey home. 

Bottom-line, it can be hard to decide whether to buy new or buy a fixer upper. Some older homes have sentimental value or historic features, but the theme of renovations is often uncertainty. It is hard to tell how much it will cost, how long it will take, and what you will find. If you are having trouble with the decision because you like both options, you can always get the assurance of a new home,  the selection of renovation and build a home