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Buying an older home versus a new one

Buying an older home versus a new one

Is one better than the other? Things to think about

Do you like the character and charm of an older house or the clean lines and openness of a new one?

There’s nothing like being the first owner of a brand-new home – everything is in pristine condition and you’re the one breaking things in. Then again, some homes get better with age or allow for the opportunity to do some renos and get things exactly how you want them – maybe at a lower price.

Making the decision to buy a new or older home can involve numerous factors. Of course, if you’re looking for a specific location or in a seller’s market you often don’t have much of a choice.

But for those who are getting ready to look at potential homes, here are some things you may want to consider as you try to decide what’s the best fit for you.

Buying a previously owned home

Older homes have a lot going for them, not least of which is their quality construction and character. They’ve proven through the years that they can stand up to time, and the craftsmen who made them not only paid attention to detail but also likely inserted some unique character and even interesting architectural features, such as archways or stained-glass windows.

While the houses themselves can be smaller, often the size of the lot is larger than newer ones and the vegetation is matured – no waiting for five years for that hedge to grow! As well, the neighbours and neighbourhood are established, so amenities are nearby, and zoning changes are less likely.

But it’s not all roses and sunshine. Older houses might have been constructed when one garage was plenty, and people tended to have less “stuff,” therefore storage could be an issue. Wear-and-tear happen to all of us, so typically there is more maintenance and upkeep. Because of their often-excellent location, a “vintage home” may actually be pricier than a new one farther afield.

New house on the block

Imagine not having to think about roofs for fifteen years and water heaters for seven – there’s something to be said for that! The latest energy-efficient heating systems and windows will undoubtedly save you money. And often there is a builder’s warranty that comes into play, which adds peace of mind.

But new houses settle, no matter what type of soil they are built upon, and that settling can cause cracks in foundations, walls and door frames. Hopefully, your builder is quick to respond to warranty repair requests. Plus, your house may look just like your neighbour’s, which looks just like their neighbour’s . . . Additionally, your new home may be located farther from “downtown.” New homes also mean more taxes charged on the sales price, which can really add up. But, hopefully, maintenance fees will be less for quite a few years, and that can help balance things out.

Other things to think about

Move in dates tend to be more flexible with older homes, after all, a delay in construction isn’t going to happen. Moving into a new neighbourhood may also mean a certain amount of other construction occurring around you.

Fortunately, in the Comox Valley, there is good opportunity to buy either new or old. Talk to your realtor to see the latest listings and start thinking about what matters to you.

Please get in touch if you want to discuss this or other real estate consideration. And visit my Facebook page or website to keep up to date on the latest Comox Valley listings.


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Leah Reichelt
Cell: 250-338-3888
Office: 250-339-2021
Toll Free: 1-888-829-7205
MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.