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Buying a Home: Is Older or Newer Better? TOP RESOURCE

Are you in the market for a new home? Would you prefer to live in an old, colonial house on a winding street downtown or would you like to buy a brand-new home in the family-friendly suburbs? Will you buy an ‘old build’ or ‘new build’? If you are familiar with real estate lingo, you may have heard of the terms "new build" and "old build".

Older Homes vs. New Home
New builds are homes that are newly constructed, located in subdivisions built in the outlying areas of suburbs and cities or that have been built in the last five years. Old builds, in contrast, are houses that have been in existence for more than 20 years. These houses may be towards the center of a city or in small towns.

Whether you are looking for an old build or a new build, the type of home you buy really depends on what you are looking for and your preferred location. To facilitate your purchase, you should ask yourself several key questions:


  • What kind of neighborhood am I interested in?
  • How much am I willing to spend on the house?
  • Do I have the time and money to invest in renovation projects and home improvement?
  • How long do I plan to live in this house?


Once you have answered these questions for yourself, you will be much more prepared to go house-hunting.

Advantages to a New Build
A home-buyer should be looking for a home with good market value, good equity and has substantial resale value. If you plan to stay in the home for less than five years, you want to make sure you can recoup the costs of your new home and hopefully any remodeling you have done. As many real-estate agents will advise you, new homes today come equipped with design features that older homes just do not offer.

Some of the major selling points of new homes include energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, modern design of bedrooms, living room and kitchens, amenities like dishwashers, washer and dryers, functional landscaping and safety features. New homes have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and do not use health-hazard materials, like asbestos or lead pipes, in their home construction. Home buyers will also appreciate other features of new homes:


  • No need to redecorate, replace or refurbish
  • Do not have major renovation costs
  • Low-maintenance windows and roofing
  • Many new homes come with a major structural defects warranty
  • Choice of location in subdivision, choice of flooring, windows, countertops, roofs, doors etc.
  • Walk-in closets
  • Two or three car garages
  • Multiple bathrooms
  • Family kitchen or family room
  • Entertainment centers or computer room
  • Homes built with lots of windows offer more light and space


Expense of New Homes
Many new home builders offer gorgeous features and modern designs. Unfortunately, these new home plans get to be quite expensive. A new home in a subdivision could cost up to $500,000 or more depending on the city and state where you plan to buy. There are several other disadvantages to buying a brand-new home such as the daily work commute. If you live in a subdivision in a suburb located on the outskirts of town, you may be traveling several hours a day just to get to and from work. You will want to factor in the price of gas and car maintenance fees when you are purchasing your home.

Construction Delays and Poor Workmanship
People expect to move into their newly built home within a certain amount of time after purchase. Unfortunately, you may have to deal with unexpected construction delays, or the mess, dirt and grime from construction work as you move into your new home. You may have to contend with a fine layer of dirt over all your belongings for several months until all construction is completed.

A final disadvantage to consider when purchasing a new home is the manner and type of construction the developer is using. You should investigate the developer and the type of construction material that will be used before purchasing a home in a subdivision. If quick construction is more important than quality for the developer, you may end up with thin plasterboard walls and shoddy flooring.

Advantages to an Old Home
While newly built homes can be quite nice, there are definitely some perks to buying an older home. You may have grown up in an older house and appreciate the quality craftsmanship, charm and character of older homes found in many cities across the United States. Built on winding, tree-lined streets overlooking spacious gardens and aesthetically pleasing landscapes, these homes were built to individual styles and tastes. Some of the major advantages of these homes are:


  • the location in or near the centre of town
  • well-established neighborhoods with good schools and community life
  • you may be able to negotiate with the seller
  • quality craftsmanship in construction
  • fewer hidden costs upon purchase


Waste of Space in Old Homes
Unfortunately, many of the homes that were built in the last era are not conducive to the modern 21st century lifestyle. They were built in a time when social life centered around the home, and guests would come over for formal tea and dinner parties. Although you may plan formal dinner parties, it is not a frequent affair and traditional dining rooms are not as practical as they once may have been. If you move in with your family, there will be several areas of the home that you will not need or use. Your family needs a large functional kitchen to eat and socialize and a large recreation room for a computer or entertainment center. The cost of remodeling can be exorbitantly expensive, although doing smaller projects yourself may be more feasible.

Energy Costs and Renovation Costs
Your older home will not be as energy efficient, which means you may need to replace all of the windows and doors to reduce air infiltration. Due to the age of the house, there already may be areas that are deteriorating badly that need to be renovated. Finally, replacing the heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems of the house will take a great deal of time, money and maintenance.

If you don’t mind a home with a bit more "personality" than those new homes for sale, then an older home may be just the thing for you.