Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

New or older home?

Which would you get for a first house, a new or older home?

  • Get a new townhouse!

    Votes: 9 37.5%
  • Get a charming, older house!

    Votes: 11 45.8%
  • Either for different reasons

    Votes: 4 16.7%

  • Total voters
    24

Cerulean

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
1,901
My husband and I are going to be buying our first home together after getting married in 2020. We basically have two options given our budget, style preferences, and inventory in the market we are looking at.

Curious, for PSers who have lived in older homes AND newer builds, or chose one over the other....why? Are you happy with your choice?

What would you do in our shoes? Obviously this is very personal, I am just curious and this is just for fun!

New, modern style townhouse
Pros

  • Lower maintenance, move-in ready
  • More square footage & storage
  • Better shared amenities (e.g. pools, gyms, parking)
Cons
  • Further out from desired area / not as walkable
  • Less "charm" and character
  • Less privacy + HOA
  • No yard

Older (c. ~1920-1940) single family home
Pros

  • More our style - we love historical details
  • In desired area - walkable with old growth vegetation / proximity to parks
  • Yard for gardening / dog
  • More privacy
Cons
  • Likely smaller sq. footage / less storage / on street parking
  • Likely no pool
  • More maintenance / repairs over time
  • More competition with buyers (smaller inventory)
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
46,103
Oh my this is such a personal choice with no clear general right or wrong.

I’m in the old and charming camp but my preference only.

But and this is critical. I’d want new electrical and plumbing and energy efficient windows etc. And newer kitchen appliances. I also prefer a more open layout.

So the best of both imo.

Good luck with your decision.

ETA our Brooklyn home is older and built strong. Our beach home is both. Originally from 1923 with a 2007 addition. Love both homes. ❤️
 

Austina

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
5,384
We’ve had both, old and brand new. We actually had more issues with the new place, in terms of snagging that hadn’t been done before we moved in, but we did have our fair share of problems, simply related to the age of the property, with the older homes.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with long term maintenance reserves, HOA charges etc., but please check them out carefully and familiarise yourself with what is and isn’t ‘allowed’. The good thing about buying new is the warranty and having a period where you won’t need to do any major repairs.

The obvious advantages of having a home where there is no HOA is that you’re not bound by restrictive covenants, etc.

I don’t know what the situation is in the US, but here in the UK, we‘ve always had a fairly extensive structural survey done on the older houses we’ve bought (different kind of survey on the new place) just to make sure there were no major issues that would be expensive to fix.

Our current house was 11 years old when we bought it, and we haven’t had to make any major repairs to it, our previous home was brand new, and we’ve had homes that were built in the 1920’s. Our first home had terrible insulation and we used to get icicles on the inside of the windows in the winter :lol:

I think it’s worth looking at both and then decide which you think you’ll be happier in.
 

elizat

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
2,851
It's not so much weighing old v new, it's weighing a particular old v new.

If you are not handy, there are certain old homes that would be a nightmare. If an old home has had new electric, new plumbing, new HVAC, new windows, etc., it will be much easier, but in more demand. If it needs all that stuff, it adds up, and quickly.

I have only ever bought a house that is 1985 and newer, but even with that, I have had to replace windows/doors, roofs, etc.

I would look at the full picture of the houses, because costs add up quickly if things need upgrading.

We walked away from a house last spring because it needed a new roof and new HVAC, that would all likely need done in the next 2 years. So, I'd weigh what a particular property has had done or not had done, rather than just new v old.

Ditto on HOA thoughts as above, but it has a con.

If no HOA and you are living in area going through a revival, are you okay with seeing homes that are rundown on your street and in disrepair? In an HOA, you won't get that, by and large.

But, in certain areas you may have a few houses that are in excellent shape and others that are maintained in disrepair, that impact your property value and overall quality of life as well.

You are buying the neighborhood, just as much as you are the house- in fact, somewhat, more so buying the neighborhood in many cases.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
10,921
I think if you havw a choice and its your first home go for new
unless you like DIY
A new build home you can often get the colours and finishes and appliances to your preferences

Our first home is 60 years old, its structurally sound but has ugly or old finishes inside and its waiting on a paint outside.
Seemed a good idea at the time till Gary got sick

Just don't over extend yourself with the repayments
No one has a crystal ball for either personal circumstances or morgage rates

Good luck
 

winnietucker

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Messages
1,952
My mom refused to buy an old house so I spent part of my childhood in newer homes. She preferred to commute and live in a new place. She didn’t really have to do anything to the house which is great cause she and my step dad aren’t handy people at all. She also kills every plant she can get her hands on so the basically no yard really worked for them. The HOA was pretty strict (houses could only be certain colors, no parking on the street, front walls/ fences could only be a certain height and they had to be made from certain materials) but the neighborhood itself was nice and safe. We never actually used most of the amenities though (there was a pool and a rec center IIRC).

My husband and I used to rent an apartment with really cool amenities (tea house with a koi pond, pool, BBQ area) and we didn’t use those often either TBH.

I personally prefer old homes with character (not that those are in my budget). I also like that older homes are on larger lots. My old house was on 0.6-something acres and my current one is 0.8. I’m aiming for 2-10 acres for the next house and in our budget these are all older homes. Our first house was over 100 years old and our current is 93 years old. We’re going to celebrate its 100 year birthday in 7 years if we’re still here. TBF I’d happily buy a brand new custom house on a large lot if were in budget.

The no HOA is a big thing for me. I don’t think it makes sense to pay tons of money to still have all the restrictions of a HOA (including rental caps and possible assessments down the road). But I also don’t care what my neighbor’s house looks like. Someone down the street from us at our last house had an emu, it was pretty cool. There was also another dump looking house a little bit further down but whatever... it comes with the territory. There are quite a few farm animals in our old and current neighborhoods despite us not being rural and I love it.

I will say though, amenities are nice. Our old house had none. With our current house we’re across the street from a nice enough park with a lake and that’s pretty nice.

Other pros of a house are no shared walls. Plus don’t SFH tend to appreciate faster than townhomes?
 

Cerulean

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
1,901
@Daisys and Diamonds @Austina @missy @winnietucker @elizat you all make excellent points. Thank you for sharing!

The neighborhood factor is a big one...at some point, we will have to decide if we want to prioritize location above all else. I am soooo aesthetically picky, but may have to....concede. Function is important and we are young. I am reasonably handy, but nothing crazy. My husband (hope he never reads this) overestimates how handy he is. I am better than he is in that department :lol:

We live in a co-op right now, and the restrictions on what we can and can't do in our unit are borderline oppressive. Co-ops are unique, but it left a bad taste in my mouth regarding HOAs. As an example (honestly this is only a shred of BS....), we replaced our kitchen sink and vanity after discovering it was leaking and causing major damage and needed attending to ASAP and got a seething mad phone call from our board for not going through their sluggish, archaic approval processes despite the fact that further damage was imminent. We didn't disrupt anyone's water service, as they are all specific to each unit. We also pay fees for garbage disposal and other cleaning services, which they essentially stopped delivering on slowly but surely over the last year. No one has cleaned our common spaces in at least 4 months.

BUT....I didn't really think about neighbors letting their houses fall into utter disrepair, though...so maybe shouldn't totally write off an HOA as long as it is isn't too expensive.

We will probably check out both, but will (unfortunately) have to move lightning fast! Houses in our desire zip codes are selling in hours, not even days! Out-of-state buyers are just buying them site unseen, full cash offers. I guess at some point - we will have to take what we can get! :cry: We've thought about moving to a smaller city an hour or so away just to build equity...yeesh! So many factors.
 

123ducklings

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
797
If you plan on making any changes to the home, and especially if kids are coming into the picture, take a close look at age and building materials. In America there are periods of time when lead and asbestos were in EVERYTHING — not just paint and popcorn ceilings, but tile, adhesives, other base building materials. This means that even very simple changes can balloon into major work and become costly with testing, abatement, disposal, etc etc.
 

lala646

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 4, 2018
Messages
507
@Cerulean I'm not sure where you are located in the US, but here in NYC the brokers we've been working with as we look for a house in NJ are literally advising us to stay put in our co-op for the time being. Wait a year or two. We are ready to have more space, but don't absolutely need it at this point, and the market is too saturated with buyers. I won't allow myself to be rushed into such a monumental decision, and the comment you made of having to "take what we can get" is a dangerous mindset to be in. Apologies if that seems hyperbolic, but just remember housing stocks will start to open up again once Covid starts to let up and people start moving again. And as the interest rates start to increase, even a little, the swarm of new buyers will ease up a little then too. You'll also start to see more foreclosures actually coming into the market as banks start to lift forbearance and people start defaulting again. Whatever the case, just make sure you're taking the time you need to make the right decision.
 

Cerulean

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
1,901
@Cerulean I'm not sure where you are located in the US, but here in NYC the brokers we've been working with as we look for a house in NJ are literally advising us to stay put in our co-op for the time being. Wait a year or two. We are ready to have more space, but don't absolutely need it at this point, and the market is too saturated with buyers. I won't allow myself to be rushed into such a monumental decision, and the comment you made of having to "take what we can get" is a dangerous mindset to be in. Apologies if that seems hyperbolic, but just remember housing stocks will start to open up again once Covid starts to let up and people start moving again. And as the interest rates start to increase, even a little, the swarm of new buyers will ease up a little then too. You'll also start to see more foreclosures actually coming into the market as banks start to lift forbearance and people start defaulting again. Whatever the case, just make sure you're taking the time you need to make the right decision.

I do appreciate the advice - at times like this, I wish I had a crystal ball!

We are in Chicago, but plan to move to Phoenix. It has been a long time coming and we are bursting at the seams in our tiny 1 bedroom and have stayed about year longer than intended.

We've contemplated renting in PHX, but we are worried that prices will continue to go up and up, until we are priced out. We do have a few months before we buy, so maybe we will learn more about the direction of things...we will probably do a short-term rental at the very least so we don't feel desperate.

The PHX market is strange...I've learned it was basically ground zero for the 2008 crash, and gets hit with every housing trend in spades.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
10,921
I do appreciate the advice - at times like this, I wish I had a crystal ball!

We are in Chicago, but plan to move to Phoenix. It has been a long time coming and we are bursting at the seams in our tiny 1 bedroom and have stayed about year longer than intended.

We've contemplated renting in PHX, but we are worried that prices will continue to go up and up, until we are priced out. We do have a few months before we buy, so maybe we will learn more about the direction of things...we will probably do a short-term rental at the very least so we don't feel desperate.

The PHX market is strange...I've learned it was basically ground zero for the 2008 crash, and gets hit with every housing trend in spades.

We previously rented a one bedroom
We went from 45m2 to 105m2 with 4 bedrooms
When you do eventually move its going to be so awsome
everyone is our circle was downsizing we had to buy more furniture !
Don't get too hung up on the small stuff
your young and its your first home
hooefully hubby's DIY skills will improve
Just get out of that one bedroom and out of that co- op !
Neighbourhoods do change over time, neighbours come and go
i would never live anywhere you can't have full fencing
 

Cerulean

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
1,901
We previously rented a one bedroom
We went from 45m2 to 105m2 with 4 bedrooms
When you do eventually move its going to be so awsome
everyone is our circle was downsizing we had to buy more furniture !
Don't get too hung up on the small stuff
your young and its your first home
hooefully hubby's DIY skills will improve
Just get out of that one bedroom and out of that co- op !
Neighbourhoods do change over time, neighbours come and go
i would never live anywhere you can't have full fencing

Thank you so much for your words of support...we are SO excited to have more space! We have 3 cats AND a large dog...we are all crawling on top of each other! A full fenced yard would be a dream for our collie!

I need to remind myself that this isnt a dream home, this is a first home and that will make it special in its own way, even if it isn't perfect.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
10,921
Thank you so much for your words of support...we are SO excited to have more space! We have 3 cats AND a large dog...we are all crawling on top of each other! A full fenced yard would be a dream for our collie!

I need to remind myself that this isnt a dream home, this is a first home and that will make it special in its own way, even if it isn't perfect.

Wow !
We were overflowing with just one cat ! (Cats and dogs do have stuff im sure you'll agree)

When we moved we even Borris a scratcher post bed because we finally had room for one !

We stayed way too long in the rental - our morgage repayments are less than rent !
Our little flat did have good storage I'll say that for it,
I miss the triple wardrobe

One thing we didn't think about was insurance varries depending on where you live
this city pays higher insurence due to flooding even though it would take a biblical type flood for the river to get up here where we are
 

Polabowla

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2019
Messages
1,811
I lived in a townhouse & the shared walls and yards were very difficult.

Also it really depends on how well maintained a house was, our house isn't very old but needed a lot of plumbing repairs, new hot water tank etc.
Things just don't last like they used to.

Idk if this applies to you, but is there a difference in school districts?
Even if you don't have kids, it can affect the price of a house.
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
8,602
A new-ish modern home for me, however, I would not say not to a new build designed and built to my specifications!

I don't like old draughty properties with lots of wooden beams, and period features such as original fire places, wood panelling, parquet flooring, covings, picture hanging rails etc...

They may be nice and romantic as holiday accommodation for a short time, however, I prefer modern features, and I don't like brown and beige that seems to be the norm for older period properties.

DK :))
 

Cerulean

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
1,901
I lived in a townhouse & the shared walls and yards were very difficult.

Also it really depends on how well maintained a house was, our house isn't very old but needed a lot of plumbing repairs, new hot water tank etc.
Things just don't last like they used to.

Idk if this applies to you, but is there a difference in school districts?
Even if you don't have kids, it can affect the price of a house.

Yeah we live in a co-op- and shared spaces are so tricky...

School districts won't have quite as much bearing...I am of the understanding that many of the public school districts are so abysmal, that nearly everyone who can afford it sends their kids to private or charter schools...
 

MoxiRoxi

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2020
Messages
47
We are currently shopping for a new home and it was an easy choice for us. the new homes in our area (Connecticut) are poorly built “builders specials”. Anything with a gram of craftsmanship like solid wood doors or wood moldings is hard to come by or extremely expensive In comparison to the older versions of the same home.

The next house will be the 4th and last house for us in 30 years. We have been in our current 1946 cape since 2007. We really value a lot more land now and less neighbors now that kids are out of the house. Commute time is also important, We are looking to be within 40 mins of my office which I work from twice a week and 30 mins from my 80 yr old parents so that we can be there as they start to require more care. Commute will be shorter for hubby than it is now and that will bring some quality of life back to his days.

We never got strapped with a lot of expensive repairs like roof, furnace etc.. or Any other issues besides drafty windows/poor insulation which may contribute to higher heating costs.

I think it’s funny to note that my dad was a home builder when I was growing up and has built many homes, including his own and my brothers. it Baffles him that I am happiest with an old, drafty cape

Good luck in your search. All the previous posters had great advice And things to consider.

I look forward to hearing where you ended up!
M
 

cflutist

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
3,963
I grew up in an old home in SF, built before the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
Didn't have plumbing that would support a dishwasher. One bathroom for 5 of us.
When I got out of college, I bought my first new home ... it was nice having multiple electrical outlets along a wall.
If given a choice I would much prefer a new house at this point in our lives because of the amenities that are available. My current home is 40 years old, has been remodeled but is still dated by today's standards, eg 8 ft ceilings instead of 10, 12, or 14ft.
200 Amp electrical service verses 400 in a new home.
We are currently in the design phase working with an architect to build our dream home in Fountain Hills AZ, a town of about 25k people outside of Scottsdale. We just went through the exercise of laying out all of the electrical circuits and plug locations in the house.

Let us know where you end up in the Phoenix area. Did you know that there is an amethyst mine in the area? They offer tours but are pricey.
 

Aerielle Max

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 12, 2017
Messages
93
Hmmm... well, that depends on practicality - as long as the home is safe, homie ambiance, and just enough for a starting family.
 

partgypsy

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Messages
6,567
it's such a personal decision, I couldn't tell you. People have laid out the pros and cons pretty well.
 

Cerulean

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
1,901
Embarrassed that I was not notified for any of these latest posts and ver replied, not sure what happened!

@partgypsy and @Aerielle Max thanks for weighing in. Folks did map out some excellent points!

@cflutist how exciting that you are building a custom home near where we will be looking! I had no idea about Amethyst mines but that sounds like a really fun adventure. I will definitely keep you posted! At the moment, our house-buying plans are delayed..the market is toooo crazy. We plan on renting first and exploring...we have eyes on south Scottsdale or Midtown in the city!
 

Aerielle Max

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 12, 2017
Messages
93
Since you made the pros and cons, then check what will cost you more. If having the older home would cost less then go for it since you love the style and finish.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    Royal Jewels: A Mother's Love
    Royal Jewels: A Mother's Love
    Celebrity Moms Jewelry Style
    Celebrity Moms Jewelry Style
    Star Wars Day: Princess Leia's Jewelry
    Star Wars Day: Princess Leia's Jewelry

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top