Moving Decisions: Should I Buy an Old House or a Brand New House - FOX21- Entertaining Delmarva One Click at a Time

Moving Decisions: Should I Buy an Old House or a Brand New House?



You’re on the hunt for a new home — or maybe an old one. When you’re shopping for your next property, you need to decide if you’re looking for a brand new house or a vintage fixer-upper.

Different types of construction vary in more than price and design. Their distinct living situations will affect your lifestyle and the way you interact with the local community. Make the wrong choice and you’ll have one serious case of buyer’s remorse.

How does a brand new house differ from an older model? And why does it matter, anyway? This guide will cover the pros and cons of both options to help you come to an informed decision.

1. A Walk Around the Neighborhood

Old homes have the privilege of being nestled in established neighborhoods and communities. You know the location of the nearest supermarket, hospital, and amenities. Although people come and go, many neighbors will have an extensive history in the community and know others by name.

When you buy an old house, you know what you’re getting into. It’s less of a gamble. At the same time, the history of established communities can become a burden.

Since many neighbors have known each other for years, there’s likely some bad blood between them. And nobody wants to get involved in the drama of others.

In contrast, many new homes are located in developing communities. You can expect noisy construction work to continue for several years after moving in. Some of the usual amenities, like stores and movie theaters, may not yet exist in the local area.

The good thing is your neighbors will be new, too, setting everyone on equal footing. There’s no drama to worry about (yet) and you’ll have more power to influence the foundation of the budding neighborhood.

2. Listing Price: Brand New House vs. Vintage Old House

A brand new house has a median price of $328,000. This is a $90,000 increase compared to existing homes, with a median sale of $240,000. It should be no surprise that new constructions are more expensive than old ones.

But as we’ll examine later, there are some other financial incentives to consider with newer homes. What’s more, the ultimate value of newer homes is more volatile. This can be both a good and bad thing.

In developing neighborhoods, how do you determine the listing price of a new home? The reality is the nearby real estate market is untested and riskier but could offer much better returns in the future.

The surrounding area could flourish into a ritzy suburb, vastly increasing its value. Or the alternative could happen.

3. Repairs, Maintenance, and Warranties

Yes, brand new homes are more expensive. But the true cost difference is a much narrower margin.

That’s because you don’t have to worry about renovations, repairs, or maintenance with a new home. All the appliances are at the beginning of their lifecycle. The HVAC units, water heaters, and roofing will be pristine for years to come.

Most states require newer homes to offer a builder’s warranty. This covers all the structural details as well as the inner workings like plumbing and electricity. However, it won’t cover faulty appliances or damage caused by the homeowner.

With an old home, it’s almost a certainty that you’ll have to pay for repairs after the sale. Plus, the appliances and framework are far older, putting you at risk of expensive renovations down the line.

That $90,000 listing gap isn’t looking as sizable as before, is it?

4. Space and Design

Modern society has changed the way many people live their lives. Newer homes tend to reflect these changes, such as a greater emphasis on storage space. They’re more likely to have at least a one-car garage, though they may have room for more.

And don’t forget about interior design. These homes adopt modern schemes with larger rooms and open floor plans. Modern exteriors are slick and geometric, often with faux stone siding.

But maybe you’re more into the vintage look. Newer homes can’t capture the style of a Victorian or Cape Cod construction. Although interior space is limited, older homes often have larger yards since they were zoned when the land was more affordable.

In general, the aesthetic preference between an old house vs. new house is up to personal choice. For a better idea of modern design, features, and functionality, search for new construction homes near me.

5. Built to Code: Now and Then

By definition, old homes aren’t built to code. Building codes change frequently and there’s no legal requirement for homeowners to keep their homes up to code.

In short, if you buy a home built in the 1970s, it’s missing out on 50 years of building code improvements.

But what does that mean, exactly? Building codes are all about security. Newer homes, built with current codes, are more resistant to natural disasters and safer to inhabit.

For example, newer rules may state that you cannot have electricity running too close to your outdoor pool. While this rule exists now, it didn’t during the time of older construction.

What Is the Right Home for Me?

A brand new house comes with a higher listing price. Yet it guarantees almost a decade of zero maintenance and sports the best appliances and modern designs.

Old homes are cheaper, but they can cause a headache in unexpected repair costs, and you’ll likely have to renovate parts of the home after the sale. With these considerations, the prices are closer than they may first appear.

But the decision is ultimately up to you.

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