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To build or to buy — that is the question. When it comes to purchasing a home, there are numerous factors to consider including cost, time, location and means for customization. At the crux of these considerations are whether it’s more viable for you and your family to invest in a new build home or purchase one that’s move-in ready (a home ready for immediate occupation), and as a home purchase will likely be your biggest investment, it’s important to understand the differences and advantages of each. Read on to learn more about buying a move-in ready or new build home and how they weigh into your homebuying decisions.

What’s a Move-In Ready Home?

A move-in ready home is one that’s completed construction and ready for you to occupy immediately. Finishes have been pre-selected by our team of designers.

What’s a New Build Home?

A new build or pre-construction home is one bought off a builder plan before it’s built. Depending on where you live, new build homes will close anywhere between several months to more than a year after your purchase date, and you will need to choose the finishes and upgrades in your home.

Aerial photography of Empire Cibolo Canyons in San Antonio, Texas.

Factors to Consider When Deciding What’s Right


One of the biggest determinants in your decision to purchase a new build or move-in ready home is the amount of time you can dedicate to your home search. Your timeline can be influenced by a number of factors including new job opportunities, the start of the school year or a new addition to a growing family. If time is of the essence, move-in ready homes are the more feasible option as they offer couples and families the opportunity to move into their new home within a month or two. If searching for a move-in ready home, be sure to get approval from your lender prior to beginning your home search; this will make the process go as smoothly as possible and allow you to put in a stronger offer on the home you’re interested in.


If you have time to spare, then it’s worth looking into a new build home. This process will take longer, but it allows you to more carefully consider where you want to live and if the area and amenities are suited to your lifestyle. It also provides you with the opportunity to choose the features and finishes in your home. On average, a new build home can take anywhere between four to eighteen months to complete.


In many (but not all) cases, a move-in ready home will be less expensive than buying a new build, making it an attractive option for first-time homebuyers and investors. Buying a move-in ready home will also allow you to get a more accurate estimate of the home’s total cost based on current interest rates; use a mortgage calculator to help you determine cost.


But while buying a move-in ready home may run you slightly less, that doesn’t mean that purchasing a new build home will break the bank. Often, what runs a new build home higher is what homeowners choose to spend on upgrades; some choose finishes that can overshoot their budget, but this can easily be avoided with adequate budgeting. Another advantage of buying a new build home includes the chance to beat the rest of the market to an up-and-coming community.


A couple enjoying the life at Dellrose in Hockley, Texas.


One of the biggest considerations when purchasing a new home is deciding where to live, and what you’re looking for location-wise will influence whether you choose to buy a new build or move-in ready home. Newer developments generally mean that amenities and facilities will be built in tandem with new home construction. These developments offer greater choice of owning a new home in an urban centre, small town or more pastoral setting.

Design & Customization

When deciding whether a new build or move-in ready home is best for you, it comes down to convenience versus customization. A new build home will allow you to add your creative input and design your home the way you’ve always imagined, from color and finish to material selection. On the other hand, move-in ready homes have limited opportunities to make modifications to your home’s design, but offer the luxury of convenience if you find one that suits your style.

In the End, Go with What’s Best for You

To ensure that your home search is as effective as possible, it’s important to determine whether a new build or move-in ready home is better suited to your needs early on. Everyone’s situation is different, so be sure to really evaluate your list of priorities. For more homebuyer resources, including the differences between buying a new home versus resale, click here.



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Liz, Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists


Liz, Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists


Hi! We are your New Home Specialists. Ask us about updates on our release, model home openings, special incentives and Empire Calderwood community information.

T 647-372-0619