Buying an Older Home vs. Buying a New Home

Understand the pros and cons of old and new homes before making your decision

As a first-time home buyer, you have a lot of decisions to make. One of the first is whether you will be buying an older home or a new home. There are different benefits and drawbacks to each, so it's important you weigh the pros and cons to find a home that best meets your needs

Benefits to buying an older home

Older homes often have charm, character and history, which are lacking in a newer home. If you are looking for a house in an established neighborhood with architectural accents, real hardwood floors and more home for your money, consider buying an older home. Older homes are also likely to come with more land and established landscaping, creating the perfect backyard space for those who don't profess to have a green thumb.

Concerns when buying an older home

While an ironing board in the kitchen or a window seat can be charming draws to an older home, first-time home buyers should also consider the drawbacks. With older homes, it is extremely important to get a thorough inspection before or as a part of your purchase offer. Be sure to check for the following:

  • A damaged foundation. Look for cracks or visible damage. Some minor settling is expected, but large cracks or a sunken foundation are serious issues and expensive to fix.
  • Meeting building codes. Older homes may require more maintenance, making them difficult to keep up to code.
  • Pests and rodents. Be sure to check for termites, moles and other creatures that might be tricky to get rid of.
  • Electrical power. Homes from the 1960s or earlier may not be designed to carry the electrical currents needed to power all the appliances modern families are used to.
  • Modern updates. Are there modern appliances and utilities installed? Older pipes and heating systems can mean big problems down the line.
  • Hazardous building materials. Make sure the home doesn't have lead, mercury or asbestos, as you will need to call professionals to remove and replace it.
  • Historical restrictions. Homes with historical significance may face local restrictions on the types or extent of renovations.

If you feel the character of the home outweighs these issues and are willing to remodel, buying an older home may be a great investment. Just be sure you factor the cost of renovations into how much you are willing to pay for the home.

Benefits to buying a new home

Buying a new home means a new structure, new appliances, new utilities, and new wiring, which generally speaking, means less maintenance. If you don't want to bother with the upkeep of a creaky old house, buying a new home may be the right choice for you. New homes are also more likely to contain energy-efficient appliances and construction materials that can help save you money. It may be more affordable for first-time home buyers to purchase a new home with new amenities than spend money trying to update an older home.

Concerns when buying a new home

Buying a new home can leave you with formulaic floor plans lacking the charm of an older home. Plus, while an older home is more likely to have a well-developed and luscious landscape, new homes are quite the opposite. In most cases you will need to spend the time, energy and money to spruce up the space yourself or hire a landscaper to complete your new lot. Finally, just because the home is new, don't assume that everything is up to code. It is still important to get an inspection when you're buying a new home.

Whether you choose old or new, Citizens Bank can help you

For first-time home buyers, the mortgage process can seem daunting. Citizens Bank will work with you from the beginning, to get you a mortgage pre-approval before house hunting, until you're ready to close the deal with a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage. If you have questions about the home-buying process or how much of a mortgage you qualify for, speak to a Citizens Bank home loan representative at 1-888-514-2300.


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