New houses used to cost more, but this is no longer always the case. Increasing land costs in some areas have shrunk lot sizes for new houses.
Advantages of Buying an Older Home
Also, new building materials are more durable and less expensive than materials found in older homes. As a real estate agent I’ve sold many homes, new and old, and I’ve seen the pros and cons of each type. Allow me to share my thoughts with you.
- Old World Construction
Older homes have stood the test of time, and genuine craftsmen built many of the older homes with great attention to detail. It’s hard to find the same type of care in newer homes.
- Larger Yard
Lots were cheaper years ago, so older houses tend to have larger yards. Larger yards require more maintenance, but they also give children and pets more room to run and play.
- More Character
Craftsman bungalows, Victorians, Greek Revivals, Tudors, or Colonials are older styles that have beautiful architectural details such as arches, hand-carved decorative appointments, and stained-glass windows. It is difficult to find such details in newer homes.
- Longer-term Neighbors
Older houses tend to be passed down through generations. Neighbors tend to stick around and to know each other well.
- Established Neighborhoods
Older neighborhoods are less likely to face zoning changes.
- Mature Trees and Vegetation
Some trees are over 100 years old, and ivy-covered walls are always lovely.
- Closer to Downtown Entertainment and Restaurants
Older neighborhoods tend to be closer to downtown areas, where entertainment and restaurants are within walking distance.
Drawbacks to Buying an Older Home
- More Maintenance
Older homes are just that, older. Things break, need to be fixed, and often updated. While older materials tend to be stronger and better crafted, they do still decay and break down occasionally.
- Expensive to Replace Wiring or Plumbing
If the home was built before sewer systems, you could end up with a cesspool overflow. The roots from that 100 year-old tree can break up your sewer pipes. Galvanized pipes are prone to rust. Newer electronics require grounded wiring, and Romex can’t be mixed with knob and tube.
- Smaller Closets, Storage Space, and Garages
People in previous generations had less stuff, therefore less need for storage.
- Might Require Updates
Adding central air conditioning can be complicated and expensive. Updating your kitchen and bathroom appliances may also require upgrades to your wiring and pipe systems. You may also need to replace cabinets, flooring, and other older features.
- Often More Expensive
Older homes are often in more desirable locations, resulting in a higher selling price, which is a con if you are buying, but will be a pro when you are ready to sell. Of course, this also means they tend to be closer to conveniences like shopping, restaurants, and public transportation.
- Smaller Square Footage
With the exception of estates, most older homes have smaller square footage. The idea that “bigger is better” is a modern concept.
Character and History in Your Purchase
So, as you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to purchasing an older home. In my experience, the older homes I have sold carry such character and history. You also do not see the cookie-cutter style homes in older neighborhoods that you do in the newer areas. Of course, repairs and updates are also expensive, and smaller square footage and storage space can be a deterrent. It all comes down to personal preference and the needs of your family.
Guest blog was written by Kimberley Joy Kelly. Kelly is a Realtor in La Quinta who specializes in helping buyers purchase La Quinta California golf homes, Palm Desert California golf homes, and Palm Springs California golf homes.
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