Old house or new? Both have their strong points

NEW CONSTRUCTION, above, is often a better per square foot value, offering more space and larger rooms than older construction. But older homes (below) often have more “character,” with larger yards and mature trees in neighborhoods closer to a city’s central business district.



CAR new home

NEW CONSTRUCTION, above, is often a better per square foot value, offering more space and larger rooms than older construction. But older homes (below) often have more “character,” with larger yards and mature trees in neighborhoods closer to a city’s central business district.

CAR older home

Q: How do I decide between buying an older home or one that is brand new and never lived in?

A:The answer to this question may be as much a matter of personal preference as anything else. Some people prefer to own things that are brand new – cars, clothes or homes. Others are just as comfortable with something “previously owned.” Both have advantages and disadvantages.

New construction often means energy efficiency, full compliance with all contemporary building codes, modern conveniences including brand new appliances, the chance to customize finishes like paint colors and flooring and a builder’s warranty to protect against any defects in construction.

Often newer construction is a better per square foot value – offering more space and larger rooms than older construction.

With new construction can come smaller lots (and yards) as houses are built closer together than in older neighborhoods.

It will take some time for trees and shrubs to mature and in some places the homes may all look very similar, offering little of what is called “character.”

To keep prices low, newer construction is often farther from the center of larger cities leading to longer commutes to and from work.

And as with all houses, new houses will tend to settle over time. In some places – including Colorado – settling commonly leads to cracks in foundations and door frames getting out of alignment – problems that you, as the first owner, will need to address.

While older homes may offer more “character,” mature trees and vegetation, larger yards and old-world quality construction, there are many other factors to consider.

Older homes will likely require more maintenance and might need immediate updates of heating, electrical and plumbing systems which can be quite expensive.

Older homes may also mean smaller rooms, fewer (and smaller) closets, fewer bathrooms and no attached garage.

Add in the convenience that older neighborhoods and homes offer to the central city and it is likely you will see a higher cost per square foot for a vintage home than a newly constructed suburban home.

In today’s market, you may often see old and new construction co-existing side by side in many changing neighborhoods.

For those who would like a brand new home but also want to be part of an established neighborhood and community, the options are getting better all the time.

Ask your REALTOR® to guide you in finding the best neighborhood to meet all of your needs and that special home – whether lived in before or just completed.

(This article was provided by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®.)

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