Buying a New Home vs. Buying an Older Home

How New Homes and Older Ones Differ

Is it better to buy a new home, or is an older home a better value? It used to be that buying an existing home was a better value than buying a new home. However, this new home premium is no longer the case in many markets. Whether to buy a new home or an older home often comes down to how much hassle a new home owner wants to avoid and where the new homes are located.

The Location of New Homes

New homes are often to be found in newer suburbs and in reclaimed wild areas. If a home buyer wants to live in an area that is already an established estate or in an established neighborhood, an older home is preferable. Some home buyers may also object to buying a new home that was built on newly cleared forest land or wetlands.

The Condition of Older Homes

While an older home may not be more than a few years old, it has been owned and lived in by someone else. This can lead to small areas of damage or to customization like paint colors that a home buyer doesn't care for. If an older home is in excellent condition, its past may still mean that a new owner must change things to get rid of any customization. This can lead to an added expense that is often unnecessary with new homes and their neutral palette of colors.

If a home is very old, it may need replacement windows, doors or a roof within the next few years. Depending on the age of the older home, there may be rewiring or insulation needed. It may have items that are no longer up to the current building code or it may have a style or layout that is considered outdated. Recent building materials tend to last longer, are more energy efficient and have a lower replacement value than the materials used in many older homes. This leads many people to choose new homes. However, because new homes need settling time, there may be unforeseen problems with new homes.

The Space in New Homes vs. Old Homes

Older homes tend to be smaller than new homes, but they tend to be on larger parcels of land. With the fast rise in land prices that has occurred in recent years, new homes are often built on less land than even 10 years ago. Whether a home buyer prefers a larger home on less land or a smaller home with a larger yard should be considered before deciding between new homes and older ones.

The layouts of new homes also tend to be slightly different than older ones. Older homes may have all of the bedrooms grouped together and may have only one or two bathrooms. New homes tend to have many bathrooms with few if any formal spaces and split floor plans that have the smaller bedrooms separated from an isolated master bedroom.

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