November 13, 2019 by
“To buy an old home or not to buy an old home: That is the question.”
Technically, this was not the question Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote “Hamlet,” – but it’s an important one to help you along the house hunting journey! While you are making a wish list for your ideal home, it can be helpful to decide how the home’s age will affect your decision.
An old or older home may be considered one that was built more than 50 years ago, although some use the baseline of 100 years or older.
A new or newer home generally refers to a home that was built after 1990, but this number is a sliding scale as we progress into the 2000s.
Every home buyer has their own idea of what is considered old and new. The area in which you are searching may also play a role, as homes built in the city limits tend to be older than their counterparts in the suburbs of a larger metropolitan area such as St. Louis or St. Charles.
Now that we have a reference for older and newer homes, let’s weigh the options!
What to Know About Buying an Older Home
Don’t think just because a home is “old” it is a lesser choice. That is not the case for many existing homes that attract buyers with their traditional charm, quality construction and inherent style. Among older homes, it usually rings true that “they just don’t build them like they used to.”
Look Forward To: The charm of traditional style and quality craftsmanship.
Architectural features bring a unique style that buyers find endearing, such as:
- Arched entryways
- Brick fireplaces
- Crown molding
- Hardwood floors
- Stained-glass windows
Older homes typically have a more defined floorplan with walls dividing living areas. This arrangement tends to feel cozy and nostalgic. It’s not uncommon to find a home with a front parlor, dining room, family room and kitchen on the main floor. Very grandiose!
Be Mindful Of: Preserving a historic home.
If the home includes distinctive characteristics and construction techniques, it may be included on a state or local register of historic homes. And though this represents an undeniable prestige, owners need to understand that renovations made to a registered historic home typically need to be permitted and/or approved by the registry before they can take place – adding a loophole that can translate to delays and cosmetic limitations.
Be sure you know the history of an old home before you consider whether you are up for the responsibility or not.
One Final Thought: Potential savings and hidden expenses.
The list price of an older home may be lower than a newer home in the same area. However, hidden costs like higher homeowner’s insurance rates and the need for an “emergency fund” to keep up with maintenance and repairs will all factor into your bottom line.
Buying a New Home: 3 Things to Consider
Maybe you are excited to look for a newer home that has all the bells and whistles of modern living. New homes may bring less hassle as you settle in than a well-loved older home would, but their newness does not guarantee perfection. This category comes with its own set of unique considerations we have identified below.
Look Forward To: A clean, modern floorplan.
Open floorplans are a dominant trend. But what you gain in wide arrangements, you lose in buffering. Noise travels! On the flip side, there’s no denying the benefit of being able to see your loved ones together while you make dinner.
Be Mindful Of: “Cookie-cutter” homes in a developing neighborhood.
Nowadays, it is common for an area of land to be developed by the same construction company. As a result, these tract homes use similar floorplans and are often considered “cookie-cutter” because of how closely they may resemble other houses in the neighborhood.
Although visually appealing, this style may be too bland for a buyer who values uniqueness.
Buyers can easily use landscaping, patio furniture and other décor to set their home apart from others. But if the surrounding area is still in development, it is important to consider if the anticipation of a budding community can outweigh the occasional burdens of living near a construction zone.
One Final Thought: Building a new custom home.
This option offers the most customization, but the longest wait time.
Whether you choose to build an eco-friendly tiny home or a sprawling two-story family home, you can select all the amenities your heart desires. The possibilities are only bound by your budget, lot size and timeline. And when budgeting for a custom build, don’t forget to factor in landscaping, fencing, building a deck or patio and other hidden costs that come with the house.
“Should I Buy an Old Home or a New Home?”
Whatever the age, both old and new homes offer a variety of benefits that cater to different buyers and lifestyles. Your pro may be another buyer’s con – so the decision ultimately comes down to knowing what matters most on your wish list.
Talk with your realtor to identify your top priorities for an ideal home. Along with the home’s age, you may want to consider its:
- Interior Features
- Exterior Features
It is also okay to be unsure of what your ideal home looks like! Your realtor can help sort through your wants, needs and “nice-to-haves” in order to find the right home for your family’s future. Ready to get started on your home-buying journey?
Find the Right Home with Meyer Real Estate
Whether you are looking for an older or newer home, ranch or two-story, or even a fixer-upper, Meyer Real Estate can help make your house hunting endeavors successful. That’s why we’ve been a top real estate agency in the greater St. Charles area since 1959.