When you are shopping for a house, it is helpful to narrow down your search by deciding if you would like to buy an older home or a new home. Buying an older home has its advantages and disadvantages. This article goes over the pros and cons to help you decide what you prefer.
Pros of Buying an Older Home:
Older Homes Tend to be Centrally Located
It is common for the homes that are close to downtown to be older because they are some of the first homes that were built when the town was established. In general, you can usually get a home in a convenient location at a better price if it is older. Homebuyers who want a walkable location should be open to buying an older home.
Older Homes Have Character
While homes built these days tend to be more cookie-cutter, older homes have more character. They are built in the unique styles that were prevalent during the time of their construction. Older homes contain features that simply won’t be found in new construction, like Victorian stained glass or a mid-century sunken living room.
Buying an Older Home is More Affordable
An older home will usually cost less per square foot than a new home. Even though the older home may have better quality building materials, the wear and tear that has accumulated from previous occupants may require more repairs and maintenance. However, you can budget for upkeep since you are paying less for the house than if it were new.
Cons of Buying an Older Home:
Wear and Tear
Years of wear and tear will cause some systems and components to need to be repaired or replaced. While a brand new home is unlikely to need a new roof any time soon, an older home’s roof may be approaching the end of its lifespan. You should have a home inspection on any home you plan on buying, but it is especially important for an older home. An older home is more likely to need repairs than new construction.
Lead Paint and Asbestos
Any home that is several decades old has the risk of containing lead paint and asbestos. Lead paint was banned in 1978 and asbestos was commonly used in building materials until 1980. Oftentimes, these contaminants exist and don’t pose a problem until the materials are disturbed during renovations. Lead paint and asbestos both cause serious health problems. When buying an older home, you should have it tested for both of these contaminants.
In previous decades, people used fewer electronic devices than they use now. Some older homes’ electrical systems can’t handle the load that is required for modern living. Also, some homes built in the 60s and 70s were outfitted with aluminum wiring instead of copper. Aluminum wiring was later discovered to be a fire hazard but still exists in some homes, because it was grandfathered into building codes. If you are buying an older home with aluminum wiring, you should have it re-wired for safety.