A home is undoubtedly one of the single largest investments a person makes in their lifetime, and finding that perfect property, in the perfect location, is a time-consuming process that has the potential to ultimately end in frustration. On the other hand, building a home is also time consuming and has the potential to cause frustration with hidden expenses and lapsed deadlines.

While there is no right or wrong decision, there are numerous factors to keep in mind when deciding between building a brand new home or buying an existing one and remodeling. However, it ultimately comes down to personal preferences.

Things to Consider When Deciding to Buy an Existing Home or Build a New Home


According to data from the National Association of Home Builders, it is usually cheaper to buy an existing home. This is due to things like the rising cost of materials, builder profits, upgrades and unexpected expenses. When buying an existing home, the land value is included in the purchase price. However, when building a home, land is a separate expense. If thorough research isn’t done in advance when building a new home, things like driveways, landscaping and access to utilities could run your final bill way over your initial budget. To help prevent this, use a lump-sum contract.

On the other hand, while your upfront costs might be higher, building a home could save you money in the long run. New El Segundo homes come with new roofs, new HVAC, new window, etc. These are all things buyers of existing homes might eventually need to replace or repair. New homes are also often built to higher codes and standards. Better insulation and HVAC lead to lower energy bills. Plus, some existing homes do hold toxic materials, such as lead paint, asbestos and mold. On top of this all, new homes come with a warranty on construction and other components. If some thing does go wrong, there is a safety net in place.


If you are looking to live in a popular urban area, it’s often impossible to find vacant land. In this instance, buying an existing home and remodeling it to your preferences might be your only option. While some older homes are functionally obsolete, adding a bathroom and opening up a kitchen might be all it takes to make the house “yours”. This is often the trade off for living in an established neighborhood.


Building a home takes time. It takes time to find the land, design a floor plan, pick a builder and decide on every finish in the home. Different factors can cause different delays. If you are on a strict timeframe, building a home might not be an option. With an existing home, you can close and move into the home in as little as a month. Even if you do have to remodel, construction can often be done with you there.

Existing homes offer convenience and lower upfront costs, while new homes are completely customizable. When looking at different El Segundo real estate options, consult a professional to help decide what is best for your personal situation.  If you have questions about buying or selling a home in El Segundo give us a call at (310) 350-4240.

John Skulick Realtor
Local Expert Tip provided by El Segundo Realtor John Skulick

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