For some, a fixer upper home never makes the priority list. Instead, the appeal of everything new is a huge draw. New construction homes are on the rise. Plus, buying that old place down the street is a little intimidating, right? A home that requires TLC can be a money pit. A nightmare. A complete and utter disaster according to all of the popular fixer-upper shows. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Older homes are generally cheaper than new construction. Newer homes are built with the latest trending materials. This usually equates to more money up front. Energy efficiency is top of mind for more and more buyers purchasing in todays market, but older homes can easily be outfitted for energy efficiency. Older renovated properties usually have updated fixtures and can be packed with upgrades. The same upgrades on a new home can add up quickly. If you are able to put in some sweat equity, an older home may be the answer. Usually larger in square footage, room size and character, older homes can knock off a lot of the ‘wants’ from your checklist.
Property sizes tend to be larger with older homes. Newer homes heavily lean on an amenities list as their selling point. Think of brand new stainless steel appliances or washers and dryers that sing to you. But a lot of the times, their exterior features aren’t remarkable. New construction tends to have a lot of home on not a lot of property. The average lot size has decreased over the years from just over 8k sq ft to under 7k sq ft. Think about your homes footprint. Removing a thousand square feet would be a pretty significant difference, right? So if a large yard is on your list of wants, an older home can usually meet that criteria.
Landscaping is usually full and mature on older home properties. An older property can be a green thumbs paradise. With mature shade trees and lush grounds, the cost of maintenance is the only thing you’ll have to worry about. In newer homes, the shrubs are small, and tethered baby oaks abound. If you are looking for a green wow factor with new construction, get your wallet out. Landscaping is one of the most expensive upgrades you can do to a home. In addition to the actual plants, adding irrigation adds another headache.
Most established gardens and lawns have figured these problems out already. Most older homes have an irrigation plan in place. In addition to irrigation, greenery is also efficient at weeding itself out of areas that are not exactly plant friendly. Thriving in one area and dying off in another, the landscaping of and older home can save you the headache of finding ‘trouble’ areas the hard way.
Location, location, location. An older home can provide more of a cosmopolitan lifestyle compared with new neighborhoods. New developments have to set up wherever there is room. So this normally places them away from the action. Queue, the ‘burbs’! Compare with an older home that normally has a bit more going on around it. Since they were built first, they are normally more central to the city. And with easier access to desirable amenities (restaurants, museums, etc.) you may not have to drive everywhere.
Older homes can be less of a mystery. Consumers are demanding more and more transparency. Just like groceries and clothing, buyers want to know as much about a property as possible. In this aspect, older homes have their newer competitors beat. Being able to see disclosure documents from previous owners is a huge advantage. These documents help identify any issues and how they were addressed. Many times, owners will keep the information from the contractors that have remedied issues previously. So not only can an older home come with documentation, but a practical rolodex of people who can help you.
By comparison, newer homes are a crapshoot. They may be a solid piece of construction that will last for the rest of time. Or it may be a complete and total lemon. You won’t actually know with a new home until you live there for a few years. And, although most new homes will come with a builders warranty, it doesn’t always cover larger issues and can be limited.
The beauty and potential of older homes is there. No doubt about it. And the cost of replicating some of the older home architectures in new builds isn’t realistic for some buyers. But what really draws people in is the history. The charm of nostalgia. So add a little bit of potential savings to your wallet and you have yourself a winner!