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Let’s be honest: Older homes usually have that aged charm and unique appeal that is seldom found in brand new homes nowadays. It seems easier to fall in love with a picturesque brick cottage or an elegant Victorian home than with a row of newly built, cookie-cutter houses.
If you are planning to buy an older home, it is wise to first acknowledge its pros and cons, to see if you are up to the challenge of owning one.
Designs and Features
Pro: Older homes are usually built to last. Decades ago, homes were built from manual craftsmanship. Without power tools, each home fixture were manually created, sawed, hand-forged, and nailed in place. Everything was finished in a customized fashion, with a great level of care and attention to detail.
Con: Though older homes have a proven capacity to withstand the test of time, its outdated features may no longer comply with the current building codes or appeal to today’s homebuyers (anyone remember popcorn ceilings?). There will always be something that needs fixing, replacing, or upgrading. A roof that is over 15 years old may already show signs of wear and tear, and the plumbing system may still consist of corroded galvanized pipes and cracked clay sewer lines. Another thing to inspect is the electrical wiring, as well as the possible presence of asbestos.
Pro: Older homes have distinct styles and character. A lot of care was given to the details such as wainscoting, scalloped trims, spindle stairs, carved balustrades, secret built-ins, and other features from every nook and cranny. It seemed that the homebuilding process of the yesteryears were all about decorative patterns and signature handwork.
Con: Most old features were designed according to the lifestyle needs of its era. The windows may need to be-re-glazed, chimneys realigned, or the wooden wall panels may need to be replaced for fire safety purposes.
Living space and Location
Pro: Older homes have larger square footage. You can have plenty of yard space or a garden that’s wide enough to experiment with landscaping. There could also be a lovely porch that adds a distinct curb appeal.
Con: Floor layouts and room sizes may no longer fit with the modern lifestyle. Remodeling and extensions are needed to make the home conducive for the occupants. A vintage bathroom may look romantic, but it may be too small for the family. Dining rooms and kitchens are often enclosed and built separately, so you may need to tear down walls to create more open spaces. There are also other issues like insufficient storage and oddly shaped rooms.
Pro: Older homes are often built in prime locations. These properties can be found in the city center, were the first communities flourished. As such, living in an older home will mean less travel time to work or school. Parks, restaurants, hospitals, and entertainment areas are usually within walking distance.
Con: Since older homes are near the main streets, the surroundings are expected to be quite busy. If you do not mind the unpredictable neighborhood, then living downtown may be perfect for you.
HOA, Renovation & Maintenance Costs
Pro: Older home communities usually do not have HOA’s. Unlike master-planned housing developments, older homes have fewer lavish amenities, excluding the need for homeowner associations. The freedom from its additional fees can sound great for most home buyers.
Con: The house may be located in a historic preservation area, limiting your choice of modifications. In fact, you may not even be allowed to remodel key features in an older home, so it is important to first research if the property you’re eyeing for is included in a restricted list.
Despite of the higher maintenance and renovation costs involved, an older home still builds a higher equity than newer homes. In fact, older homes are believed to have a greater return on investment because of its proximity and location. The demand is ever growing as more homebuyers realize the benefits of owning an older home.
Looking for your dream house? Let the sweet-smelling scent of the Magnolia trees in Durant, OK lead the way. I can help you find it, just send me a message or call my number today.
Brian A. Allen is a Realtor and is full of energy, excitement and zeal for every sale. He spent most of his career in marketing and now applies that skill set to the homes his clients want to sell. Click here to learn more about Brian A. Allen