Should new immigrants purchase a new house or old house?

Monday Jul 25th, 2022


Many new friends I meet after adding me on WeChat ask if they should purchase a new house or an old house as their first home? Here is my advice to them:

Let’s determine what is new or old, what I am referring to is a second-hand house. A new house is built within the last 5-10 years. Anything older than that is an old house. Excluding pre-sale properties. I would highly recommend newcomers to stay away from buying pre-sale properties due to the fact many things could happen by the time for the property to transfer hands. Developers have years on their hands to complete the real estate project legally, so it may not be in your advantage if you’re waiting to move in. For new immigrants with a clear time of arrival to Canada and in need of housing, do not consider buying pre-sale properties.

A Clean and Bright New House

New houses, and old houses all have their own different sets of pros and cons. From my observation, newcomers are split 50/50 among which type of house to purchase. The benefit of a new house is very apparent. Who doesn’t like shiny new things? Clean and organized, architecture, and building styles are all modern. Even if you can’t see the electrical and water piping, you can feel safe in its excellent quality due to the fact the Ontario government has an organization called Tarion that do quality control before they allow developers to sell any property.  If any mechanical, electrical issues present itself, Tarion will fine said developer and request for it to make proper repairs. 

Old houses, the owners would have to pay for a housing estimator to come up with a complete housing audit. If the buyer is not happy with the audit, it could be a point for negotiations on price or stop the sale transaction all together.  Despite a good complete housing audit, due to the age, an older house will require repairs here and there at some point. It’s because of this it is not as convenient as buying a new house. In addition, if the architectural style doesn’t match the buyer’s liking, the buyer will have to spend out of pocket money to renovate to achieve their desired outcome. 

Should new immigrants purchase a new house or old house?

Classic Elegant Old House

Some are passionate about old houses, as old doesn’t mean poor quality. In fact, houses build in the last decade may use lesser quality materials, built quickly, and with less skilled workers without any craftsmanship. One may find an old house that’s 30-40 years old that’s a gem of a find. Also back then, land was not as expensive. So, houses back then had massive square footage for front yards and back yards. The density in the neighbourhood is low, less traffic, safe, with more privacy, thus better quality of life. There greatest significant and visible difference between a developed neighbourhood and a new neighbourhood is the greenery. New neighbourhoods also have trees that line the sidewalks, but they are young with few leaves on them. The streets feel empty with them. Whereas old neighbourhoods like Markham’s Unionville has massive old trees that lines the streets and creates a magical fairy-tale like scenery. One could walk under the green leafy canopy in the summer, witness the orange and yellow falling leaves in fall, and wake up by songbirds in the morning, go for a stroll in the gorgeous sunset, it’s all very “Canadian”.  This type of magic you cannot purchase with money in a new neighbourhood. Now you could purchase a mansion in an old neighbourhood and renovate it to your heart’s desire, then you get best of both worlds. The modernity of technology and old-world charm, but it will cost you a pretty penny.

Unionville – Markham’s old charming neighbourhood


Toogood Pond – fantastic greenery

Unionville – Markham’s old charming neighbourhood

Above are my tips based on my real state knowledge and my personal preference. Everyone has different taste and liking, so feel free to connect with me and continue the conversation regarding which type of house is the best fit for you and your family. 

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