Buying a house is an exciting event. Granted, it can take time to find the right one, but the satisfaction of owning your own piece of real estate is a sweet reward. When you’re looking for a home to buy, you’ll have lots of choices. Should you buy a single-family house, a townhouse, or a condominium? Should you buy an expansive five-bedroom home or a modest three-bedroom home? What style of home do you prefer? Do you want a home in the city, the suburbs, or the country? Which neighborhood would you like to live in? And finally, would you prefer a new home, an older home, or a really old home?
The first criterion that usually influences people is the price. Generally, new homes cost 20 percent more than existing homes. Even though two out of every five people would like to buy a new house, only 17 percent of them are willing to foot the extra cost. Because new homes are also in untested neighborhoods, they can be the hardest ones to sell if the neighborhood doesn’t work out or a housing crisis hits. During the 2008 housing crisis, the market was overwhelmed with new or recently built homes and the demand for them was much less.
Both old and new homes have a customization appeal, but the appeal is different. For an older home, it’s very likely that home will have some unique features that give it character and interest. Perhaps, there’s a uniquely-shaped kitchen or a delightful reading nook or intricate molding on all the door frames.
On the other hand, a new home is often customizable from the ground up. Do you want a basement or no? What kind of door handles you want? Do you want a massive jacuzzi in the master bath? How about the kitchen layout—should you have an island or an open plan that leads into the dining room? On and on goes.
Old homes are generally perceived as being more interesting than new homes, which can help their resale value. A buyer might fall in love with the clawfoot tub in the hall bathroom or the massive weeping willow in the back yard and decide to buy the house. A new home, particularly one in a housing development, may be part of a cookie-cutter housing plan.
The quality of a home, old or new, will depend on several factors. The workmanship of a newer home may not be as good as that of an older home. Due to tight budgets and schedules, modern construction crews often feel the need to cut corners and use cheaper materials.
However, an older home may suffer from structural faults or heating system issues or drafty windows. You don’t always know what you’re getting into, even after getting it inspected. Older homes are very likely to need some repairs.
Choosing a home to buy helps you think about your lifestyle choices and your goals. Enjoy the process, ask your real estate agent questions, and prepare to enjoy the benefits of homeownership!