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Last updated: July 14, 2021 • Home Improvement

New construction or older home – The pro’s and Con’s

Some people hate hand-me-downs because most people are looking for something new and modern. On the other hand, there are people out there who love things with history. When it comes to housing, there is a never-been-touched attraction to new homes, and existing homes have stories to tell. There is a flip side to all the perks that come with buying a new home or an older one.

Price-wise you might say that new houses are more expensive than older homes, but that is not necessarily true across the board anymore. According to the real estate market trends of 2021, land costs increase, and new home lots have shrunk. The residential areas under development in big cities will often have homes close to one another. On the other hand, older homes that come in cheaper might require a lot more repairs and improvements initially, along with costly maintenance over time.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages you should consider before determining whether you should purchase an older home or a newer one.

The pros of buying an older home

new and old concept

While buying an older home for the price of a new one might feel like you got the wrong end of the bargain, it is not necessarily true. There are several reasons why buying an older home rather than a new one is a better choice, and we are about to underline some of those reasons below.

A sturdy old-world construction

You know the old saying, “They don’t make ‘em as they use to.” For many, it reflects the way they feel about older homes with their unique architectural design along with the story behind it. But it also reflects the meticulous attention to detail that was considered by the genuine craftsmen that built the property. 

Older homes were able to withstand many storms, and for decades or even centuries, their sturdiness and structure remained intact and in good condition. That is why many buyers might be inclined to purchase an old-world construction that stood the test of time rather than a new building where you are unsure of the quality of materials or workmanship.

A home with character

colorful italianate victorian homes

Too often, new homes lack character because a suburban development plan or a newly raised apartment complex will have the same layout for all the apartments or properties in the vicinity. All the structures are made by the norm, so they all look the same. If you know your home inside-out, chances are you will also know your neighbors home because there is no difference. 

Unlike modern times where faster and more is better, back in the days, real estate was an art, and the architect is the artist. From the sash windows of a Georgian property and the fireplace in every room of a Victorian house to the stained glass panels of 1930s suburban homes. These unique architectural features can only be found in older homes, and many would want to live in such a wonderful place.

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Larger space

3d rendering loft apartment

With the increase of land costs, you will often run into new home lots where you feel like crawling through your bedroom window will lead you into the window of the home next door. The great advantage of older homes is that land was cheaper back then, and builders would build homes in larger lot sizes. With old houses, you have the great advantage of spacious rooms and gardens, which is a massive bonus for many homeowners today.

Established Communities

It is unlikely for zoning changes to occur in older areas, and most likely, existing homes are surrounded by a community of people that are well established and lived there for most of their lives. Also, older homes are found in areas with nearby amenities such as pubs and restaurants, making things so much better if you are looking for that type of close-knit community.

The cons of buying an older home

With an existing home, you can set yourself apart from newer homes with a unique architectural design, lots of space, and an established community. Even though older homes might be better built than newer ones, you have to consider some downsides to being the owner of older construction.

Requires more maintenance

selective focus of african american woman

Things don’t break all at once with older homes, but they tend to go wrong periodically, which means that you will always have something to fix. Foundations and Chimneys require touchpoints, and floors may slope. You also need to consider that it might require some considerable work before you can move in as soon as you buy the property. Be aware of the wear and tear of older homes and address them. Minor issues such as mold, leaks, or worn-out features are not uncommon.

Expensive replacements

Roofs can last you for a lifetime, but in a house that has seen the rise and fall of multiple generations, the roof might need to be replaced. Other expensive replacements are the wiring and plumbing. Some existing homes were built before sewer systems, and tree roots can break up sewer pipes. Sensitive electronics might require grounded wiring, and aluminum can often be dangerous. Old homes can learn new tricks with the addition of smart home tech, but keep in mind that it might cost more than you think.

Often more expensive

hands of businessman analyzing invoice on laptop

You might be tempted by the lot size and the convenient location of older homes, but you often can’t correctly estimate the after-costs. It might turn out that renovations and significant repairs need to be done, and even though your older home costs less than the new single-family homes in the vicinity, with the added costs of repairs and maintenance, you might end up paying way more. 

Most often, classic and vintage homes cost more from the get-go because of the convenient location. Being closer to conveniences such as mass transit, schools, shopping, and urban amenities inflates the price of older homes, so be aware that it might end up costing more than newer homes. Many of these situations are avoided by lenders who require you to have an appraiser view the property prior to the purchase. That way they avoid overpaying for a home if the price is too high for what it’s worth.

The pros of buying a new house

Some might say that new is always better, and they might be right. The desirability of moving into a home that nobody has lived in before is what motivates many people to purchase. However, the new doesn’t always mean better. There are some drawbacks to new homes, but some advantages as well, so we’ll leave it up to you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons.

Move-in as soon as you buy

One of the greatest advantages of new homes is that everything is set, and you are ready to go as soon as you close the purchase agreement. New construction has everything set for you to move in right away and enjoy the stay. From fresh tiling and paintwork to kitchens and bathrooms, there is little if anything you need to do. Simply unpack your belongings and start enjoying your new home.

Modern conveniences

modern kitchen in a luxury house

New homes have the added benefit of modern appliances along with other conveniences such as built-in dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves, and wine coolers. Modern homes will often feature master suite baths along with media rooms or home gyms. Even if some of these features are not included, more often than not, people will have enough space to create a destined workout room with a few DIY Home Gym ideas. With networked wiring systems, it’s easy to make the ultimate home theater and have all means to work, play, and live at your disposal.

Built to code and feature a builder warranty

The compromised structure of an older house can raise serious safety concerns. However, with a new home, you won’t have to worry because code regulations change frequently, and consumer safety issues are continually addressed in new construction. Newer homes always conform to current building codes, and in some cases, builders offer a 10-year warranty to buyers. However, you should always buy from reputable builders willing to stand behind the structure and its components.

Smart and energy-efficient homes

remote home control system

Not all new homes have smart home devices and technologies, but it’s most likely that you will see this kind of technology in new houses. Smart tech options allow you to automate the internet, speakers, cables and even create reliable security systems. New constructions might feature solar panels for energy efficiency and saving money on those electricity bills. Don’t neglect the use of quality materials in walls, floors, ceiling, and dual pane windows, which can retain more heat in the winter and keep your home cool during the summer season.

It may be cheaper than older homes.

Searching for a home in the downtown area will most likely drain your pockets of money because of the high prices per square foot. However, if you move toward a suburban area, you will most likely find an offer that is hard to turn down. That is why many people nowadays are flocking to suburban areas for precisely that reason. Even real estate investors realized that new constructions could be a good investment if you know what to look for.

Personalization

hand sketching on a house rendering

The old home charm lies within its unique architectural design, but this leaves little room for you to add your personal touch. More often than not, your idea of appliances, furniture, and color matching might not fit with the design. Things are different when it comes to new homes because they allow for a lot more customization. Buying early enough in the construction phase might allow you to choose your kitchen style and reshape the layout according to your liking. 

Even if that is not an option, you still have a completely blank canvas to personalize and decorate. Some of the architectural design styles you can adopt for your new home are pretty unique, and it is much easier to create a space that is as close to your dream home as possible in new construction.

The cons of buying a new home

Even though buying a new build home seems to be increasing in popularity, you have to be aware of the downsides of new constructions. Buying a new home can be a bumpy road, and despite all the perks of new build properties, they do have some cons you need to consider before making a decision.

Not all new homes are built equal.

Keep in mind that all builders are not built equal. The experience of buying a new construction varies among buyers because the policies, skills, and available options vary from one builder to another. Look for reputable builders if you want to find reliable and quality homes. More often than not, new construction might have thin walls, and noisy neighbors can’t be blocked out easily.

Of course, this comes with poor quality, but often cheaper homes that are built fast come with these disadvantages. A reputable builder will offer their homes for higher prices because of the quality, and you might be pushed out from the deal because of your budget. In that case, you might want to calculate if it’s better to remodel or purchase a new home.

Similar floor plans

colorful floor plan of a house

Tact homes are identical to each other, and if you want to stand out from the crowd, chances are it’s not going to happen if you buy a home in a conforming area. At least you know that your neighbor’s house looks exactly like yours, and you know where the light switches are located. But, tract homes have similar floor plans, and most of the time, the builder sticks with exterior design styles and finishes that appeal to the broadest range of customers, which cuts out even more from the uniqueness of your home.

On the other hand, many of the newer constructions are located in cities with some of the best master planned communities. That is also why many homebuyers prefer to live in a home that looks the same as the neighbors one but have all the perks and benefits of living in such a community.

Location is not always ideal

making location on a map pins

Chances are you are not going to find new constructions in the downtown areas of big cities, where the urbanization and real estate development happened quite a while ago. Unless you are willing to pay top dollar for properties in the downtown area for a convenient location, you will most likely move to the suburbs for better prices. The further you go, the better the price on a new home might be, but the less convenient the location may get. It’s a compromise, but it’s the only way you can get your hands on a new home that is reasonably close to the action. If you are willing to deal with long commute times to downtown, by all means, find a real estate agent in the suburbs who can help with good deals on new construction.

Conclusion

There is no right or wrong choice when deciding whether to buy new construction or an existing one. It’s a matter of finding the right choice for yourself, and it all comes down to personal preference. What do you want to get out of the home? To help you answer this question, we have underlined a few pros and cons that will hopefully help you decide between buying an older home or a new one.

Do you agree with our list of pros and cons? Would you instead choose an existing home or buy a new house? Let us know in the comment section below. If you enjoy our content, support us by sharing it on your social media platforms.

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