One of the most important considerations homebuyers make is whether to invest in existing real estate or to buy new construction. The Real Estate Kings have taking some time to put together a list of 5 considerations that may help you decide whether a new home or an old home is the best fit for you:
Are you the type of person who likes to wake up every day surrounded by steel, glass and concrete? Or do you prefer the sense of history that comes from gently aging poplar siding, or exposed brick walls? Do you want to live in a unique neighborhood that's evolved over the years to accommodate its many residents? Or do you prefer the clean commonalities of a planned community? Do you want a big yard full of mature trees? Or do you prefer to never do yard work? Older houses tend to have been built using a wider variety of materials, and in a wider variety of styles than newer houses. Older houses are of course going to have larger trees, and because land use patterns have evolved, yards tend to be bigger in older homes as well.
Any house can be customized to fit the owner's needs. One of the joys of buying new construction is that if you come into the process during the design phase, you can partially, or even fully customize the space without major additional expenses. An extra bathroom, an open kitchen or a 2nd floor laundry room are relatively painless additions pre-construction. But making those alterations to, say, an 1890s farmhouse could end up being a money pit.
Although nobody can tell what the future will bring, existing neighborhoods do have a resale track record. It's relatively easy to look at an existing neighborhood's past sales history to establish whether the neighborhood is likely to be a stable investment. New developments are a resale gamble precisely because they're new. The development may not sell out, or it may sell so well that more nearby developments are announced. The HOA fees or taxes could rise dramatically after the neighborhood is completed. Any of those factors can negatively affect the resale value of a new house.
If you're set on living in a specific neighborhood, local area information will pretty pretty much determine your options for you. In most cities, if you want to live downtown, you're likely going to have to choose between an older home or a newer condominium. The older homes probably aren't just old, but historic. Historic houses require a lot of upkeep. And many historic neighborhoods require strict adherence to historic renovation guidelines. The newer condominiums will charge HOA fees, but will generally require much less money and much less time to upkeep.
A newer home might appear to be more structurally sound than an older home. It has new HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems; a new roof, new windows and a pristine foundation. But what happens as the house settles over the first 10 years of its life? And right about at that 10-year mark, the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems start needing attention. Structurally speaking, the older home was probably built with stronger materials. All the bumps, cracks and oddities that come from the settling process have been established; They've probably even been addressed by previous owners, or at least made clear in the disclosure. The one area in which new homes offer an advantage in quality over older homes is with environmentally friendly building materials. Older homes may lack insulation, have inefficient windows or lack good air flow. Those things can all be corrected, of course, but at a price.
If at any time you think you need to advice of a professional please do not hesitate to fill out the form below and we can help you through the decision.
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