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Something Old or Something New: Which Home is Right for You?

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By : Lynn Bulmer    99 or more times read
If you're getting ready to make a real estate purchase, you may be wondering whether it's a better deal to buy new construction or an older house. There are benefits and drawbacks to both types of property, so it's important to weigh your options carefully before making an offer.

Older homes have a classic lived-in charm about them. They've been built using long-lasting materials, and with great attention to detail. They're also filled with the memories of homeowners past, and have stood the test of time.

Many of today's new homes are built using the same materials and architectural designs, so houses tend to look very similar to each other. This can create a neighborhood that's bland and lacking in personality. On the other hand, a new house can be built to your specifications, so the place will feel like it was truly meant for you.

New construction—though sometimes lacking in aesthetics—has the benefit of featuring the most up-to-date construction techniques and green building materials. Buyers can also take comfort knowing that everything in their new house will meet the latest building codes. An older home will require regular and at times extensive repairs and upkeep, while a new home should be in good shape for several years to come.

Older homes may require a major revamping of the electrical or plumbing systems to make sure everything is safe and meets current requirements. Older homes also have the drawback of harboring potentially dangerous materials like lead-based paint, asbestos, and lead pipes. While a buyer should get a home inspection done regardless of the age the property, it's especially important if you're buying an older house. You need to be aware of any potential health hazards in the home.

In terms of location, older homes tend to be situated in well-established neighborhoods where trees and shrubbery are full-grown, and neighbors know each other well. Older homes are nestled in traditional, family-oriented neighborhoods, and are often within walking distance to local shops and restaurants. Residents grow up together as a whole, and the area is designed to accommodate all residents living in the vicinity.

In a new home neighborhood, trees and plants (if there are any) will be young and very small, leaving the area feeling barren and lifeless. Without mature trees and lived-in houses, new subdivisions lack the hominess that older areas have to offer. In a new development, neighbors are strangers to each other, so residents may feel lonely in the first few months. It can also be a pain to get to and from work if you buy in a new development, as they're often built towards the outskirts of town.

New home developments can also pose a financial risk to buyers if the region doesn't become a 'hot spot' in the community. If a subdivision is too far from downtown and amenities, the area won't attract many long term buyers, which will adversely affect your property's value. An older neighborhood has already proven itself as a desirable part of town, so property values should stay steady over the long-term.

Price-wise, older homes are generally more affordable than new properties, though this of course depends on the home's location and construction materials. Look around at both new houses and old to see what your budget will allow. You may be surprised at what you find.
View the many listings for Washington D.C. real estate. Lynn Bulmer, Washington D.C. realtor can help you make buying a home in Washington easy.

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