If you are one of those fortunate people in the market for buying a home I commend you in these tough economic times. The question may rise on whether you should buy a new home or an old house. I prefer saying the latter as “old house” instead of old home. An old folks home is too reminiscent for me of the archaic and politically incorrect term, so I shy away from using “old home.”
With that being said, before you consider buying a home you should strongly weight the worthwhile investment of research and time on the advantages and disadvantages of a new home versus an old house. You may be surprised what they are. It will depend on your preferences, but each one should be thoroughly investigated before you make your final decision.
A Brand New or Newer Model Home
1.) Many new homes are actually cheaper to buy than older homes nowadays, because of construction costs and a minimal yard. This is ideal for those who do not want to do yard work.
2.) No worries about maintenance such as replacing the roof or installing a water heater or fixing the plumbing for the time being.
3.) You’ll find many modern conveniences such as a dishwasher, microwave oven, larger refrigerator and freezer, wine coolers, media room, gym room, and spa-type bath tub in the master bedroom just to name a few of the amenities.
4.) A lot of the newer homes are built for energy efficiency. Some will have solar panels; insulated walls, ceilings and floors; and dual pane windows that can save you on your electric bill each month.
5.) Best of all, more square footage even if the builders have to build up as in a two-story home.
1.) If you detest long commutes to work then a new home won’t be for you. A vast majority of the new homes built in the Tampa Bay area are out of the city limits or in other rural-like counties.
2.) Another thing many do not consider, or the real estate agent will avoid at all costs to tell you, is if the land was a swamp, especially in Florida. Many communities were built in former wetlands. When there are heavy rains these new homes usually get flooded.
3.) All you see are what I call “cookie cutter” homes built so close together they might as well be terrace homes or duplexes instead of detached houses. You see these in walled communities that are not gated, but have a wall up around these series of homes. There are very little patches of land for these kinds of newer homes.
4.) On the local news in the Tampa Bay area you hear one horror story after another of poor quality workmanship on these new homes with things falling apart left and right. Sadly, the newer homes are usually built in record time with no care and pride by the builders.
5.) Speaking of Mother Nature, new homes tend to settle from time to time due to the soil. This kind of settling causes cracks in the walls, door frames, floors and foundations.
This Old House
1.) Larger front and back yards ideal for kids to play in or have cook-outs or other family gatherings. Many of the older homes have beautiful oak trees and other vegetation in the front and the back of the homes.
2.) Initially when many of these homes were built in post war times, after WWII, they were made with a great deal of care and high-quality craftsmanship. Over time they have weathered turbulent times with rain, snow or other natural disasters. They are still standing just like before. In other words, the old houses have a proven track record.
3.) There is a stronger sense of community in neighborhoods with older homes. You won’t find people from other parts of the country as your neighbor. These will have lived there most of their lives. You feel more deeply rooted.
4.) You are close to just about everything, including your commute to work. There are shopping centers, strip malls and other businesses nearby instead of driving halfway across town.
5.) Thankfully you do not find tract homes or “cookie cutter” type homes in older neighborhoods. Each home is unique and distinct in its own way. The old houses also have their own kind of charm too.
1.) It seems many people want older homes, so the costs of them are proving to be more than newer homes. This is due in part they are on larger land and very close to many convenient businesses.
2.) Unlike newer homes with more closet space and square footage you will have the exact opposite with older homes. Generally speaking they tend to have smaller closets, garages and other storage spaces. Unless you live in an estate the square footage will be smaller. That is because the yards are bigger.
3.) Even though older homes were built better initially over time there is going to be repair costs that may be ongoing, not to mention costly. You may even have to replace the wiring and plumbing.
4.) If you want the modern, high-tech conveniences newer homes already have built-in, then an old house won’t be your cup of tea. It may seem like being in a time warp without a master tub with jet sprays or a state-of-the-art media room instead of the antiquated den or family TV room.
5.) Lastly, it is great to have a sense of community in your neighborhood provided your neighbors welcome you with open arms to some degree. Otherwise, they tend to be extremely cliquish and unwelcoming. At least with gated communities in newer homes they have pot luck dinners once a months for people to get to know one another.
Naturally there are a lot more pros and cons, but these are just some of the more common ones to ponder on for now. It all depends on what part of the country you are buying a home in. Some major cities no longer have new homes while up and coming cities are growing at an alarming rate with both. There are so many things to consider. However, it is ultimately up to you whether you should buy a new home or an old house.
Elizabeth Weintraub, “Buying Newer or Older Home?”, About.com