Old House vs. New House: Which Is Better to Buy?
Old house vs. new house: If you're shopping for a place to live, this may be one of your primary decisions. Is it better to buy brand-new? Or do homes, like wine, get better with time? It turns out there's no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are distinct pros and cons to each purchase.
“Both new construction and fixer-uppers offer unique benefits,” agrees Cedrid Stewart, a residential and commercial sales consultant at Keller Williams Realty in Washington, DC.
All of which means your Final Answer may boil down to a personal preference—so here's what to keep in mind when you're trying to decide whether an old house or a new house is right for you.
Upfront costs: How much house can you afford?
New may be nice, but you pay for all that shiny newness: According to recent home price figures, the median cost of a new home is $335,400. Meanwhile, the median cost of an old home—often called an "existing home" in real estate parlance—is only $240,500.
In other words: You'll cough up nearly $100,000, or 30% more, for a new home. That's a sizable price hike! However, that money you save buying an old home may not remain in your pockets that long, since old homes are often less energy-efficient—and thus will cost more to heat and cool. And sooner or later, something is bound to break down, too (more on that next).
Maintenance: Love it or loathe it?
Just like we mere mortals when we get up there in years, old homes come with an inevitable need for repairs, replacements, and upgrades. On the other hand, "New homes should be worry-free for several years,” says Stewart. “A brand-new hot water heater, HVAC system, and roof all but ensure no major out-of-pocket expenses for at least eight to 10 years in most cases.”