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Renovate or Relax? Buying an Older Home Vs. New Construction

By Jamie Richardson | August 21, 2017

If you are thinking about moving it can be quite a dilemma trying to decide whether it is better to buy an older home and put your own stamp on it with a number of much-needed renovations, or do you buy a new property and relax because there is nothing to do?

You will often pay a premium for a turnkey solution so an older property will seem attractive from a price perspective, but the great unknown is how much you will need to spend to bring the house up to date and looking as good as new.

Here is a look at the pros and cons of buying an older home compared to putting your cash into a new construction option, including a summary of some of the key points in favor and against both new homes and older homes so that you might able to make the right decision for you and your family.

Arriving at the right answer:

There are plenty of different factors that you need to consider when you are trying to decide which property option is right for you.

If you are fairly competent and enthusiastic about tackling a variety of DIY projects it might be that you can see and fulfill the potential of a property that is being offered at a price where there is some scope to increase the value once you have done the renovation and remodeling work.

Alternatively, if you are not that confident about tackling a range of remodeling and renovation jobs and don’t want the hassle of living in a home that resembles a building site while you get everything done, it might work out better for you to pay a higher purchase price and buy a property where everything is modernized already and in working order.

Why you might want to buy an older property

Properties of a certain age not only have a great amount of character about them but they were often built by master craftsmen to a high specification, which means they are going to prove robust as well as maintain their good looks and charm.

You can often get a much larger living space and a bigger garden area to enjoy with an older property as space is at a premium for new construction projects, which means that room sizes and overall specifications can often be smaller in a new build.

Drawbacks to consider

You can often find that an older home requires more maintenance as it has had longer for things to go wrong and problems to develop.

The issues can be minor repairs like fixing and sealing and giving parts of the property a new coat of paint; through to getting help with mold treatment and other problems that can develop over a period of time.

You also have to consider that in order to keep up with building codes and to combat normal wear and tear you may have to pay out for electrical and plumbing work.

A positive point about an older home is that it can often be in a good location that is close to conveniences as the neighborhood has developed, however, the negative about a property in such a good location is that it might cost you more.

Reasons for buying a new home

There are a number of distinct advantages associated with buying a newly built home.

If you are the first owner, or the property is only a couple of years old there will be little or no expensive maintenance to think about for a while, as you are unlikely to need to replace the roof or upgrade the water heater or furnace.

Another positive point to consider is how much lifestyles have changed over time and this means that new homes will have been built to reflect these changes, so your home will probably come equipped with modern conveniences like a dishwasher, refrigerator, and microwave all built-in as part of the design of your kitchen area.

Buying new also means that you get builders 10-year warranty as protection against any major defects, plus a new home is likely to have been built with energy efficiency in mind.

Points against buying new

A lot of new homes can lack the individuality of an older property and it will take a few years for immature vegetation like trees and shrubs to give you the sort of mature look that you get when you buy an older property.

Another potential negative is longer commuting times and distances if you are buying a new home that has had to be built away from the main city area for reasons of cost and land space.

There are a lot of pros and cons to consider on both sides of the argument, so do you think you would be more inclined to renovate or relax?

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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