A new construction home versus an older home… And I’m not necessarily talking about an existing home but literally an older home, older as in 1950s or before. There is quite a bit of difference between an old home and a brand-new construction home. More than simply building codes and regulations, there are pros and cons to owning either.
Here are some pros and cons to buying a new construction home versus an older home prior to 1950s.
Advantages of buying an older home
Old world construction.
You’re not going to get the same type of construction as they built homes in the 1930s and 1940s. That could be good or bad. That old saying “they don’t make things like they used to” is absolutely true with just about everything, including craftsmanship in home construction. You’re likely to find real wood, wood molding, wood paneling, and better construction overall. However, building codes can change so you want to make sure the skill up to par.
Older homes tend to have larger lots and yards. In today’s newer construction homes, they tend to call them “postage-stamp-sized lots” because there are so small that really all the content on the lot is the house itself.
This really could be an advantage or disadvantage. Older homes do have a smaller footprint overall but the layout might be more practical. I have seen a lot of homes built in the 1960s and 1970s that are single-story and have to maximize every bit of space whereas a lot of newer homes may have two or three stories with a lot of wasted space.
Character is definitely a selling point when it comes to older homes. Craftsman style bungalows that originated in the East and West Coast in the 1900s are quite popular in places like Eastern New York, California, and the Carolinas. You might find other architectural styles like Victorian homes, colonials, tutors, or Greek revivals.
All of these are a unique character that you probably won’t find in new construction properties.
Zoning laws can change in newer areas quite frequently but are unlikely to change in older areas. You’re probably not going to find a Walmart or Costco popping up in your neighborhood anytime soon. This could be good or bad depending on your perspective.
Most older homes will be found in established neighborhoods with mature landscaping and trees. The drawback for a lot of people looking for a well-established neighborhood. You don’t have to wait 10 to 20 years for the vegetation to grow up around you. Most locks are fenced and most properties will have some sort of established trees and landscaping.
Disadvantages of an older home.
Anything this older will naturally require more maintenance. You may need to prepare wiring, plumbing, foundation issues, siding, and roof construction much more often than new construction. This is definitely, something to be aware of when having the home inspection.
As with more maintenance comes expensive maintenance projects. This is why it is crucial to make sure a lot of the major items and integrity of the home is taking care of before buying it. Unless you want a $30,000 repair bill on replacing wiring or plumbing, try to make sure these things are done ahead of time.
Homes older than about the 1960s are likely to have just one bathroom. Unless the home has seen renovations, one bathroom was the norm prior to about the 1950s. In today’s homes, 2 to 4 bathrooms are the norm.
Advantages of buying new construction.
Very little maintenance.
It’s very unlikely that you’ll have any major maintenance within the first 5 to 10 years. Of course, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, they don’t make things like they used to, so don’t expect that washer or dryer or refrigerator to last you 10 to 15 years. You’re likely to replace things over time but you won’t have as much maintenance on the house itself as you would something in the 1950s.
A lot of developers and builders will offer their own warranty up to about 10 years. This might cover appliances, construction, and integrity of the property and is something to consider when buying new construction.
Newer homes are locked up so tight that they literally have to install a venting system to allow the house to breathe. Older homes may have single-pane windows and less insulation where newer homes will have more insulation and better-sealed windows and doors.
Larger square footage.
Most newer homes will have the square footage of at least 2000 ft.² or more. Older homes can seem to make do with around 1100 to 1500 ft.², but this is all relative depending on the property.
On the flipside to mature landscaping is newer landscaping. Smaller trees that will need to be propped up until they take root, and non-established trees and shrubs that will need to take at least 2 to 4 years to really get going.
There are other advantages and disadvantages but I believe that that’s all relative. What might be an advantage to one may be a disadvantage to another. Location, commute routes, proximity to shops and restaurants all can factor into the desirability of a certain property.
One good thing is that the Lewiston, Middleport, Youngstown, and the Medina area all have a variety of homes from the 1920s and 30s up to 2020. There’s something for everyone in just about every price point throughout the area and with so many people leaving downtown New York for a quieter, slower-paced life, many people are moving into this area and finding exactly what they’re missing.
Contact me at any time for information on homes and real estate in Lewiston and surrounding communities.
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