Archive | February, 2013

Old v. New

5 Feb

Since Andrew and I are in full house hunt mode, we’re touring more and more houses.  I don’t know the number of houses we’ve looked at, but it has ranged from vintage charmers {1920’s} to brand new model homes, and everywhere in between.  The reason we have looked at such a wide range of homes has been that the year of a house hasn’t played a role in whether or not we like it.  Sometimes we’re drawn to newer houses, and other times we love older homes.  It’s been a factor that has not helped us narrow our house criteria at all, since we’re all across the board.

At least until recently.

After looking at 3 homes this past Saturday, our minds are definitely made up.  Andrew and I have fallen squarely on the side of “older” homes.

Within the span of 2 hours, we toured one home built in 1992, another from 2004, and lastly from 1978.  The homes clearly reflect the differences of those decades, and each had their pros and cons.

The pros of a new house are pretty obvious: white trim, white doors, chrome hardware, modern appliances {including the things you don’t think about like sinks, toilets, and faucets}, and the “big” stuff is supposed to still in good working order {roof, windows, furnace, AC, plumbing, etc.}.  BUT the three biggest things you take a risk on are durability, character and yard, which just happen to be high priorities for Andrew and I.

Let’s talk about the durability of  a house.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned through house hunting, it is that newer construction does not equate to less problems.  For many, it’s a natural assumption: newer is better.  With homes, that is definitely not the case.  It’s all about the builder.  And builders nowadays can cut corners and use cheap materials, just like any other builder in the past. My last post was about a short sale built in 2002, and it had so much water damage throughout the house that I’m surprised it’s “pending” right now.  If you want to buy new construction, definitely do your research on who is building your dream home.  Because home problems don’t surface right away…they take 5 or 10 years to develop, and once they do, you’re the one dealing with it.  Which is exactly why an older home appeals to Andrew and I.  Older homes may need cosmetic changes, but they’ve stood the test of time.  A home from 1978 with no cracks in the ceiling, or foundation issues, and a newer roof, and appliances that have been taken care of…that’s worth it to us.  Because chances are that if there were any major issues, they already happened {on somebody else’s dime}.

The second biggest con that we found in newer homes was the lack of character.  It’s a pretty general complaint, because every house is different.  I just know that we put a lot of stock in the feel we get while walking through a house, and the character of the house has a ton to do with that.  Don’t settle for a house that doesn’t feel like home.

Lastly, new construction comes with a major downside: lot size.  I don’t know where this phenomenon came from {maybe it’s only in Oregon?}, but the new houses we’ve seen loose a certain amount of appeal once you realize your outdoor space consists of a patio.  And that’s it.  For us, who both grew-up with big grassy yards, it’s hard to comprehend.  Which is why, once again, older homes have the upper hand.  In our house hunting experience, older homes come with bigger yards.  And it isn’t just about the yard–bigger lots mean more privacy, space between your neighbors, and reduces noise concerns.  The advantages of having a large yard is definitely something we’re looking forward to.

After touring 3 homes with over 30 years between them, Andrew and I left feeling like we had finally seen the light.  While newer houses are shiny and flashy, we’re interested more in the bones that older homes offer.  We want a solid foundation, and don’t feel like taking a chance on new{er} construction.  We’re OK with the fact that we’ll have to make cosmetic changes along the way, because that’s the fun part!

In the battle of old v. new, we’re siding with “older is wiser”.  And we feel pretty darn good about it!

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