When you think about buying a new house, you probably wonder whether buying an existing house or building a brand-new one is better. Stats show about 86% of home buyers purchase a previously owned house and 14% buy brand new homes, according to NAR’s yearly trends report.

There are many pros and cons of making an offer to buy new vs. older when it comes to buying a house. Let’s take a closer look at both options with local NW Indiana Realtor Denise Mathews so that you can make the right decision for your needs and wants.

Buying a new house involves signing contracts to strat the legal and financial purchase transaction

Buying a New House Comes With Many Decisions

Both buying new and older houses have their advantages and disadvantages, but the most important thing is to consider what matters most to you personally. The right choice for one person may not be the best for another. It all depends on your personal preferences, financial situation, condition of the home, and future plans. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of buying new vs. older homes.

Should I Consider Buying An Older Home?

older brick homes exudes charm and history with mature landscaping

Many people love the character and charm an older home often brings. The gorgeous woodwork, beautiful hardwood floors, and established neighborhoods can’t be beaten! However, not all older homes are equal.

Many older homes have been lovingly maintained, including major system updates. But some of the homes have not been taken care of so nicely. So one of the first things to determine when considering purchasing an older home is the condition of the house.

An older home full of charm yet recently updated in all ways may get you the best of both worlds!

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Pros of Buying an Older Home

Affordability

Older homes tend to be more affordable than newer ones. If you’re looking for a home that won’t break the bank, an older home might be a good choice.

Many industrious homeowners actually prefer to buy a older home that needs updating, and doing the updating their selves! It’s one way to get yourself into a beautiful home in an affordable way.

Character

Many people look for older homes because they appreciate their character. Older homes often have unique features, like hardwood floors or original woodwork and trim. They also often have more character than newer homes.

The established neighborhoods with mature landscaping and a variety of home styles just do not exist in brand new neighborhoods…

History

Many people also like buying older homes because they like knowing that they’re living in a piece of history. While you may not be able to tell what exactly happened in your house before you moved in, it can still be interesting knowing that your house has been around for decades and has seen many different owners over the years. Some older homes are even on The National Registry of Historic Homes!

Flexibility in Updating

One benefit of buying an older home is that you have more flexibility to design the space as you want. Older homes often come with various rooms that homeowners used to need, but people don’t live that way anymore. While updating, it’s easy to put walls where you’d rather have them and what to do with the space.  It’s also fun to renovate the home to meet your needs and tastes.

Better Building Materials

Another advantage of buying an older home is that you may have fewer repairs. A home builder once told me that the wood that older homes are built with is so much better quality that homes built 70 years ago will still be standing and the newly built homes won’t even last 70 years total.

Also, older homes have been lived in for many years and are more settled. All the kinks have been worked out and the house is solid and proven. Newer houses, on the other hand, are just being built and are still settling, which may come with needed repairs after that happens.

Cons of Buying an Older House

Aging Infrastructure

Some older homes have outdated systems, like electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC. Replacing or upgrading these systems can be costly. Of course, if all the updates have been done, especially recently, this turns into a plus!

Limited Indoor Space

Older houses are often less spacious than newer houses. Kitchens and bedrooms are generally smaller. Sometimes there is less storage space. If you have a large family or want extra space for entertaining and everyday activities, an older home may not be the best choice.

Lack of Modern Amenities

Another downside to buying an older home is that you’ll likely find fewer modern amenities, like central air and a dishwasher. Updated older homes may have already added these features.

Fewer Modern Safety Features

In addition to having fewer amenities, older homes often lack modern safety features, like fire sprinklers or egress windows in lower-level rooms. Sometimes, windows in older homes have been painted shut, which is a safety hazard.

Neighborhood Reputation

Another thing to keep in mind when buying an older home is its reputation. The neighbors who have lived there a long time might have pertinent information about the history of your potential new home.

You may want to conduct some research on your particular home to see how others have felt about it and whether there have been any issues, such as repairs or concerns.

Is Buying A New Construction Home Worth The Money?

New-construction-homes-are-one-choice-when-deciding-on-your-next-home

Photo Credit: Denise Mathews for DMathewsRealtor.com

Having a brand new construction built, or buying a fairly newly built home, is very exciting! In a new build, you can often choose your own colors and finishes. New homes have the latest trends, like the open concept and tall ceilings.

However, just because it’s new does not mean that it is better. Read more to find out the pros and cons of purchasing a new build home.

Pros of Buying a Brand New House

Modern Amenities

Newer houses are often built with more modern amenities and appliances. You’ll likely find more modern amenities, like central air, master bathrooms and extra storage space.

Customize To Your Liking

If you are having a new construction built, you can choose the color of the walls, the style of the kitchen cabinets and any other features you want in your home. This is one of the best things about buying a brand new home!

You can also landscape your yard to your exact liking, instead of having to adapt to the previous owners plantings.

Fewer Immediate Repairs

Since all the major mechnical systems are brand new, such as the furnace, the roof, the hot water heater – we know these things won’t need replacing anytime soon. 

The appliances are brand new and should last awhile too, as well as they come with warranties.

Preferred Location

One advantage of buying a brand new house is that you can choose the perfect location and design the space exactly as you want.

Cons of Buying a New Build Home

High Price

One disadvantage of buying a new house is that the price may be higher. New houses are often more expensive than older ones in the same neighborhood. 

Also, ranch homes are especially more expensive to build than any other type of home due to their larger footprint and roof area.

Less Charm and Character

Another disadvantage of buying a new house is that it may not have as much character or charm as an older home.  You may not be able to make changes or renovations if you don’t like what you see.

Natural wood woodwork, instead of painted wood, may be harder to find. Interesting architectural aspects that come with older homes may cost a pretty penny to get the same in a new build.

Future Repairs

We’ve all heard that “they just don’t build things the way they used to.” Older things tend to last longer than their new replacements. This is true with houses too.

New homes are often built with fewer materials that are less durable than the ones used in older houses, so they may not last as long.

Limited Outdoor Space

Newer houses are often built on smaller lots so builders can maximize profits. If you want some space between you and the neighbors, a new build in a brand new community not be the best choice.

Landscaping, trees, and plants aren’t mature either and leave the neighborhood flat and open with no shade or privacy.

How To Decide Between Buying a New Build Vs Old House

Now that you have the facts about newly built homes and pre-built homes, it is time to decide what kind of homes you’ll consider buying. When deciding between buying a new house or an older one, there are several things you should consider.

  • First, think about how long you plan on staying in the home. If you plan on living in the home for about 10 years or so, it may be worth investing in a newly built home with brand new everything that you don’t have to worry about replacing anything like the furnace or roof. 
  • Next, think about what kind of neighborhood you want to live in. If you want to live near family members or friends who live nearby, an older home may be a better choice because there are likely more homes for sale in your area than newly built ones.
  •  Finally, consider how much money you have for repairs and renovations when deciding between buying a new house or an older one. If you have enough money saved up for renovations and repairs after moving into your new home, then it might be best to enjoy the charm and less upfront costs of an older home, and just update it to bring it to your standards.

Conclusion

Buying a new construction house is a big commitment. Just like buying a new car, as soon as you move into a new build, you take a hit in equity. You’re going to be making a sizable financial investment that may require several years of monthly payments and interest payments while you wait for the value of your home to increase.

On the other hand, purchasing an older home offers the potential to save money. While it may not be as attractive to look at as a brand-new home, older homes tend to be cheaper and be located in established neighborhoods. Plus, you also have the option of using the savings to update the home to be exactly what you want. This way, you get the best of both worlds.

If you choose to buy a new construction home, it’s important to make sure you’re buying from a reputable home builder. If you’re buying from a builder with a history of poor service or quality construction, then you may end up with a flimsy home that will require a lot of repair in the near future.

One thing you want to make sure to do is hire a good local Realtor® to help you through the process of buying a home. You will want your own representation to protect your interests when dealing with builders or listing agents. DO NOT be mistaken in thinking you will get a better deal if you deal directly with the seller.

If you’re on the fence about if you should hire a Realtor or not, here are the pros and cons.

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