Another Debate: Old vs. New

Yesterday, I traveled off the beaten path to visit some new constructions. The particular company I’m looking at doesn’t use model homes any more. They have a new home studio in a centralized location, and then they will let you visit an already built model in a different community.

I met my realtor 30 minutes away in a tight community. And when I say tight, I mean nowhere to park, houses on top of each other, I can hear the neighbors 102 jamz blaring from 7 houses away. The first house we looked at was the largest model in my price range, about 1400 square feet. The first floor did nothing for me, it was just a large room with a small kitchen. The upstairs was the best part, with the master suite being amazing with vaulted ceilings and an enormous bathroom and closet.

The second model we looked at was almost finished being built. It was the smallest two story model at 1200 square feet. I liked the downstairs layout better because it didn’t feel like one giant room. The rooms upstairs definitely felt smaller though. Meh.

The third model we looked at was a skeleton. The outside was good to go, but the inside was made of beams and wires. We were able to figure out what would go where. This was a happy medium between the other models at 1300 square feet. The bedroom looked like it would have the vaulted ceilings and the giant master bath. I liked this model the best.

As I drove home, I wondered what the benefits of buying a new home versus an old home would be. Obviously a new home is new and should have less issues. There would be less unknowns. But I’ve heard that older homes were built more solidly and have withstood the tests of time. I did some research, and this is what I found:

  • New homes are built up to today’s code. This means electricity, plumbing, insulation, windows, roof, etc. Being up to code will translate into probable energy savings.
  • Homeowner’s insurance rates are often lower on new homes. Because everything is new, there is less risk of things going wrong.
  • New homes are usually built outside of town, wherever town might be. Older homes will be in established neighborhoods, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then an older home might be for you.
  • Older homes have more “charm.” My definition of “charm” has wavered lately. I feel like I could add charm on a new house by hitting up the molding section of Home Depot.
  • Things can still go wrong in a new home. The company I’m looking at offers a one year home warranty, though. I also saw someone make a good point on city-data.com, that builders aren’t going to build something that will fall apart right away because that would ruin their reputation.

When I think about it, a new home meets all of my needs and concerns. I could move right in and decorate it to my heart’s content without worrying about what’s in the walls or in the foundation for a few years. The new homes are priced the same as the older homes I’ve looked at, but wouldn’t need so many repairs up front. I would still have property but it would be smaller, so less overwhelming for me. The neighborhood I’m most interested in is close to my job, but far outside of town, so that’s a plus and minus that balance each other out.

At the end of the day, I still don’t know what I want to do about what I want to invest in. What I know for 100% sure is that I want to move out of my noisy apartment. After visiting the model homes yesterday, I’m concerned about moving into a noisy neighborhood. I know I will be happy anywhere, it’s just a matter of being comfortable with the budget and location. Why am I having such a hard time? Is this normal? Help!

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One thought on “Another Debate: Old vs. New

  1. Cynthia says:

    Totally normal to have trouble deciding!! Especially if you’re going to buy. You want to make sure you are happy with the purchase! Newer is certainly more enticing, simply because there is less immediate work to be done. Definitely research the builder, and contractors, if possible. Sometimes when companies are building new construction in a neighborhood, they do “cookie cutter houses” and can sometimes use materials that are not the greatest (think the end of Lincoln St). It’s very likely the houses will have good bones, but the finishes may be a but rushed if they are mass producing.
    I’ve been following your blog and I think you’ll be happiest in new construction because of the peace of mind of not replacing high-priced items within the first 6 months or year. As for your neighborhood, inquire about the lot size of your property and that of your nearest neighbors. See if they’ll be on top of you. Also, confirm you’ll have double-paned windows…that’ll help keep out unwanted noise (in the cooler months at least). Overall, trust your gut. You’ve made plenty of big decisions in the past decade and they have worked in your favor. Your instincts are good; you’ll know when it feels like home, not just looks like it 🙂

    Like

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