It’s home buying time! First question on the list: shiny and new or old and charming? Ask around for advice and you’ll hear “They just don’t make them like they used to!” That can’t be true, can it? The answer: kind of.
While I have faced this conundrum myself, it was a thread on Bigger Pockets that really got me thinking. People were PASSIONATE about the quality of older homes vs modern. These people had a legit beef with the way modern homes are built – and they have a point. Older homes (pre-1970) were really the golden age of home building. For one the materially was much better quality. Wood, for example, was made from old-growth trees, which were stronger and more resistant to rot. Walls were more likely to be built from plaster – again making them structurally stronger than today’s drywall.
Older homes were also built by craftsmen. These people took pride in their work. It was a profession that people respected. Many homes were built with a sense of individuality, giving them a charm that often lacks in today’s modern homes. Hard wood floors were standard at the time. Owners would actually bring in carpet as a sign of luxury and status.
This isn’t to say there weren’t terrible homes back in the 50s and 60s. They also came with electrical wiring which was…not quite up to today’s standard. Insulation was also poor and you may not have central head or air. Older homes are also…old. So there is probably going to be more things that go wrong more often. You may want to also look out for lead pipes and asbestos.
New homes on the other hand will be filled with shining objects and central heat. Sure they look great, but they’re often made in the most cost-cutting ways possible. 2x4s aren’t even 2ft by 4ft anymore. Engineers have figured out to make the most house with the least amount of materials. The houses are meant to be cheap, easy to build and up to code. Any more than that and you will have to pay for it.
It really comes down to cost. If you want a modern day home built like a home in the 1950s, you can have it! The price tag may come with night sweats, but the option is there. The charm of an old home may give you that cozy feeling…or that could be because your freezing from the draft and bad insulation. Whatever you decide, just know what you’re getting into! Get an inspector you trust and go from top to bottom. Surprises are great on your birthday, but are pretty tough to handle when it comes to real estate investments.