The question is not as easy to answer as it used to be. Once upon a time, newer homes were more expensive than older homes and were thought to be of superior quality. With the way times have changed, that’s not always true, but it’s not always wrong either.
Neighborhoods change as do the people living in them, and entry-level homes can’t compete with some of what the older homes can offer. It’s an interesting conundrum as you compare old vs new homes to decide what is the best path forward for your situation.
Advantages to Buying Older Homes
Depending on how old the home is that you’re looking for, it is entirely possible that the older home has stood strong for a century or longer. Even if it has been there for a few decades, you know that it has stood the test of time, so you can feel good about purchasing a home built by experienced craftsman from the days of yore.
Older homes also tend to have larger lots. That translates to larger yards perfect for kids to play in or have families spend time outside. It also means that the home likely has a garage or a neighboring alleyway. The extra space between homes is also nice because no one wants to feel like their neighbor is looking into their home from the kitchen window.
Homes that have been around a while also tend to have more character than their more contemporary counterparts. Imagine a Victorian home, and you can picture the carved details in the walls, the staircase, and all the other little things that meant something when they were originally done.
Advantages to Buying Newer Homes
New homes are new shiny things that attract your eyes, but with good reason. There is a level of comfort knowing that you’re the only person that has ever been inside that home. You know every nook and cranny, why a door got replaced, or that time a wall got repainted because your toddler got a hold of a Sharpie. You know the entire history.
A new home also has a bunch of different warranties in place. You’ve got a warranty for the A/C unit, the heater, the roof, the plumbing, the walls, the structure – everything. Builder warranties are excellent as you find those smaller and sometimes more significant issues that pop up when you own a brand new home. Since it’s all covered under warranty, you don’t have to pay to fix any of those things.
The Most Efficient
New homes are also built to be efficient, which is a huge step forward from older homes. Some even have solar panels incorporated into their design to encourage a lower energy use. Everything is insulated, and windows are often dual-pane to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer.
Builders follow the most updated codes to keep your home compliant. That means that you won’t need to do any updates on your own or hire someone to make them happen. Your new home comes to you ready to go, lock, stock, and barrel.
Disadvantages to Buying Older Homes
As wonderful as older homes can be, there are some definite drawbacks to purchasing one of them. Many a homeowner has complained that it feels like there is always something else to replace or repair. The ground shifts over time which can result in foundation repairs or sloping floors that weren’t there fifty years ago.
Lack of Code Compliance
Other changes that older homes have to contend with include wiring and plumbing. Since the homes were first built, there’s a good chance that there have been updates to the electrical or plumbing code. To get an older home up to code, that means that you may have extensive replacements to make.
Smaller Storage and Living Spaces
Remember, too, that these homes were built in a different time. Homes built in the early 1900s were designed with a different philosophy in mind. It was a time when people didn’t have quite as much stuff to store which means fewer closets, spaces for storage, and possibly not even a garage. Another interesting change since the times these homes were built is in relation to the size of a family. Large families were the norm back in the day, and still, these houses that are older are generally smaller than a modern home. They tend to have fewer rooms, so it may or may not work for your family’s arrangement.
Disadvantages to Buying Newer Homes
Newer homes tend to be called “cookie-cut” homes meaning that they look like every other home in the neighborhood. There is no customization and very little character. For first-time home-buyers, that may not necessarily be a deal breaker, though, because these homes are easier to build which means they also cost less.
By the same token, these homes will have a similar floor plan to your neighbor. If that matters to you, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that someone else has a home nearly identical to yours in every way.
Trees Take Time
Landscaping also takes a hit on newer homes. Because the developments are new, the time has not been there to allow for vegetation to take root and grow. Older neighborhoods have beautiful trees and lush vegetation that has happened naturally over time. Newer homes need a homeowner that can afford to do that, and unfortunately, that’s not usually the case.
Far From City Life
If you want to live near the hustle and bustle of a larger metro area, then you’ll be disappointed in the location of a newer home. They are not typically built somewhere near a busy downtown scene. Instead, they’re usually a good distance from anything like that. When you consider the proximity of a bustling downtown area to old vs new, older homes win in this category.
Other Factors That Impact Old vs New Homes
Upfront costs can also make a difference in what you choose to buy. Older, or established, homes may cost less in your area than a shiny, new home. Newer homes may be less expensive depending on the area you’re looking at, so you need to compare the cost to what you can afford, too.
Also, consider the track record for the older home. You can see its history and how much it has appreciated over the years. That home could be a solid investment that will pay for itself in the years ahead. Newer homes don’t have that kind of history, and it’s far more of a risk in terms of investment. You have no idea if the property value is going to shoot up or go down as more people move to the area. It’s a gamble if investment value is a priority in your search.
All the Latest Amenities
If you want the newer amenities inside of an older home, you’ll need to be ready to take that challenge on, too. There’s nothing that says you can’t hire someone to renovate an older home and bring in the latest innovations to make your dream home a reality.
It’s Time to Buy Your Home
Buying a home is a fun, exciting time that is also stressful and chaotic. Things happen that you don’t plan for like a rescheduled home inspection, closing dates that are pushed back, or finding mold in a wall that you didn’t know about before you signed the dotted line. All of these things can be mitigated to some degree depending on the type of home you buy. When it comes to old vs new, you need to go in expecting there to be some problems in older homes that you’ll be willing to fix. If you don’t want to deal with those potential issues, go for a newer home instead. When all is said and done, you’re going to love your new home as long as you prepare yourself with realistic expectations. By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each one, you’ll go in with open eyes, and you’ll be ready for whatever is thrown your way.