When shopping for a new house, there are many different factors to consider. Make a list of your priorities and preferences for your new home and your real estate agent will help find properties that meet your criteria. One thing you’ll need to decide is whether you are open to buying an older home. While a newly-built home may seem more appealing, there are pros and cons to each type of property.
Advantages of Buying an Older Home
In urban areas, you’ll usually find older homes built closer to the downtown. If a walkable location that’s close to restaurants, bars, and shopping is high on your priority list, you may find what you’re looking for with an older property.
When the town was established, most homes were built near the city center first before residential areas spread outward. This is why most of the houses in central locations close to downtown are older.
If you have a strict budget to stay within, it’s good to be open to buying an older home. You will likely pay a lower price per square foot if the home isn’t brand new. However, make sure to schedule a home inspection before closing so that you know about any issues and needed repairs. The home may seem affordable, but if you find out that it needs extensive work, the cost of owning it may go up thousands of dollars.
Buying an Older Home with Distinctive Character
Homes built today tend to be cookie-cutter and are designed with open floor plans, clean lines, and straight edges. In new developments, you’ll find that all the homes in the neighborhood look generally the same. Many older homes feature distinctive characteristics like real stone fireplaces and chimneys, wood shake siding, arched doorways, and carved wood accents.
Developers today tend to build homes closer together on small lots to maximize their profits. Larger lots and space between properties were more important to people decades ago. If you want a home with a larger lot, you’ll expand your options if you are open to buying an older home.
Disadvantages of Buying an Older Home
Repairs and Replacements
Some older homes have been immaculately maintained and upgraded before they’re listed on the market. However, it is common for older homes to have aging roofs, dated appliances, and structural problems. You’ll be more likely to run into these issues in an older home than a brand new one. While you should have an inspection when buying any home, it is especially important for an older home purchase.
Homes built decades ago were designed with small closets and less storage space. Most new homes have garages, but many old homes do not. This may be a dealbreaker for some homebuyers. Keep in mind that you can install a shed in the backyard for additional storage.
Possibility for Dangerous Materials
Lead paint and asbestos are two dangerous building materials that were used in home construction as late as the 1980s. When buying an older home, it is important to find out if these materials are present. They may not pose a health risk as-is, but if you decide to remodel you’ll need to take mitigation measures to keep the home safe when the materials are disturbed.
Old homes tend to have loose doors and windows which let drafts in and conditioned air out. Also, the insulation may have deteriorated or sunk over time, making the house less efficient. New homes are built with updated efficiency standards and are more airtight than older homes.