Looking for your first home to buy is an exciting and confusing time. You might have your heart set on a period property but are afraid of the work that might be involved. Or maybe you want to be the first ones to live in a brand-new build? A chance to put your mark on something fresh and untouched. Here, we look at the pros and cons of buying an older property compared to a new build.
#1 Pros - Durability
Older homes have stood the test of time, sometimes standing for centuries. They’ve stood strong through bad weather and seen many people come and go. Maybe you love the idea of the stories and history of a place that have soaked into the very fibers of the building. It’s true what they say about not making them like that anymore – as some of these properties might have been constructed by real craftsmen with unique designs.
#2 Pros - More Space
Back before land was at a premium, getting a large plot was cheaper. Homes were built on much bigger lot sizes, meaning more room for your family and a bigger yard as a bonus. You’ll also benefit from an established garden, possibly with mature trees and flower beds. New builds will often come with an immature outdoor area, as vegetation can take years to take hold. If your garden is important to you then living with a lawn of dirt might just be enough to put you off.
#3 Pros - Character
Older homes have tons of character with popular styles including Victorian, Tudor, Greek Revival and Colonials. Houses designed in these styles are architecturally more interesting and attractive including arches, stained glass windows, hand-carvings and many other unique structural additions. Many would argue that new homes are all too similar, have no individuality and simply replicate the floor plan across the whole neighborhood.
#4 Pros - Settling
With an older home, you won’t have any issues with settling. Settling is bound to happen with a new property, wherever you are in the country. Soil needs to settle and any movement in new builds can risk causing cracks in the foundations, door frames and walls. New homes may have been built on repurposed land which could be prone to flooding or other drainage issues.
#5 Pros - Less Expensive
Generally speaking, older homes are cheaper but you will need to consider whether that will be offset by the increased possibility of having to carry out repairs and maintenance on an older house. There may also be some remodelling required to an older property to accommodate modern furniture and appliances.
#6 Cons – Maintenance
Yes, they’ve stood the test of time but there’s a strong possibility that older homes will need maintenance, sometimes extensive, to keep the property in good condition. There’s a good chance that older homes will have single-paned windows, less insulation and be nowhere near as energy-efficient as a new build. This could result in higher energy bills for you.
#7 Cons – Out-dated
If you love your modern appliances and high-end technology then be prepared for the fact that you might not have the infrastructure to cope with it. Layout will be out-dated and possibly not big enough to incorporate modern luxuries like kitchen islands and huge flat-screen TVs. If the house comes with appliances, they will be older and the amenities might not be up to modern standards.
#8 Cons – Finding Insurance
Many people kept caught up in the beautiful tree-lined avenues and grandeur of an older property but fail to factor in how their insurance costs will likely increase. Insurance is a necessity but insurance for an old property can be significantly costlier. There are more risks for the insurers like old wiring, plumbing and crumbling walls, for example.
#9 Cons – Restrictions
If you are interested in purchasing a historic property then you should check to see if there are any restrictions on making changes to the houses in your neighborhood. You might also need to contact a historical society if you have remodelling plans as there might be elements of the architecture or structure that are protected.
#10 Cons – Finding Craftsmen
Some older homes can have very specialist architectural features, ancient wiring or plumbing systems that modern builders and contractors don’t have the expertise to work on. If you require any restructuring or updating then you could run into difficulties finding someone experienced enough and prepared to take on your project.