Advantages to Buying an Older Home
- Old world construction.
Older homes have stood for decades, some centuries, and weathered many storms. Most were built by hand by genuine craftsman, with meticulous attention to detail. Compare that with the miles of sheetrock you see in newer homes that quite often is cracking within two years.
- Larger yard.
Years ago, when land was cheaper, builders built on larger lot sizes in the city and on vast acreage in the country. Unless a property has been drastically subdivided, it sits on a nicer piece of land than it's newer neighbors.
- More character.
Let's face it, it costs a fortune to get the detail that was ordinary in homes of yesteryear. The architectural design, woodwork, moldings, wide-board floors, fireplaces, stained glass, wainscoting, archways, solid doors, hand-hewn...beams... just don't exist in most new construction.
- Longer-term neighbors.
Some older homes are passed down through generations. Many neighbors know each other.
- Established neighborhood.
Zoning changes are unlikely to occur in older areas. Usually the neighborhood is well established and there are no surprises.
- Mature trees and vegetation.
It's not uncommon to see 100-year trees and well established perennial beds with older properties - not to mention hand cut granite steps, stone and slate walkways...you can't pay for that kind of landscaping. Seriously, who wants to wait fifteen years for a flowering tree or bush to establish itself . And there's nothing like a majestic, old maple or oak tree.
- Closer to downtown entertainment and restaurants.
In the city older homes tend to be located closer to area amenities - shops, restaurants, libraries, parks.
Drawbacks to Buying an Older Home
- More maintenance.
If it were a "perfect" house, everything would fall apart at the same time. But things tend to go wrong periodically, and there's always something to fix. Chimneys and stone foundations require repair. Clapboard needs repainting. Floors may slope. There's always something to do!
- Expensive to replace wiring and plumbing.
New electric and plumbing gets costly. 200 amp wiring for the new washer & dryer, new pipes for the dishwasher. All new work needs to meet code regulations and that sometimes means redoing entire systems.
- Smaller closets, storage space, garages.
Before today's concept of "bigger is better," people had less clothing, fewer personal items to store and one car. Owning an older home requires "creative" storage solutions. An opportunity to find yourself a gorgeous, old armoire!
- Might require updates.
Heating, cooling, insulation, weather proof windows, they all can be very expensive, not to mention any kitchen or bath redo you may be envisioning.
- Smaller than average.
With the exception of estates, many older homes are smaller in size, even though family sizes were larger when they were built. These are not McMansions with family rooms resembling bowling alleys. Then again, many people are looking to recycle and have a smaller ecological "footprint"!
Advantages to Buying a Newer Home
- Little maintenance.
New construction is meant to last for a while, so new home owners are not likely to install a new roof or replace the water heater.
- Modern conveniences.
Many items are standard such as built-in dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves and wine coolers; they feature master suite baths, work-out and media rooms; wiring systems are networked.
- Builder's warranty.
In some states, builders are required to give buyers a 10-year warranty. The first line of defense is to buy from a reputable builder who will agree to stand behind the structure and its components.
- Energy efficient.
Many new homes are built to be energy efficient. ie: solar panels that can turn back the electric meter. New appliances that use less energy. Walls, ceilings and floors are that have state of the art insulation. Thermal windows that retain more heat in winter and keep the home cooler in summer.
- Built to code.
Code regulations change all the time. Consumer safety issues are continually addressed in new construction and conform to building codes.
- Emotional factor of newness.
Let's face it, there's nothing like owning something that's brand new, never been used, whether it's a car or a home.
- Greater square footage, on average.
A newer home, on average, has more square footage and larger rooms. You need somewhere for that California king bed.
Drawbacks to Buying a Newer Home
- Tract homes have similar floor plans.
Some say tract homes are identical to each other; they have no individuality. Others prefer conforming areas. So what if your neighbor's house look just like yours, at least you know where the light switches are located.
- Immature vegetation.
It can take years for trees to grow. In some newer developments, for example, many home owners can't afford to landscape the back yard. The front of these McMansions look magnificent, but look out an upstairs' window and every body's back lawn is empty. Many times these houses look like boxes sitting on the treeless cornfield they were built in.
- House settling.
New houses settle. It happens everywhere, regardless of the type of soil. Settling causes cracks in foundations, walls and door frames.
- Longer commuting distances to business centers.
Newer homes tend to be built farther and farther away from the metropolitan area where you work. Commuting will eat into your leisure time.
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