Adventures in Home Owning: Cons to Buying an Old Home

Sep 24, 2018 | Blog

Dear Homeowner,

During the first two weeks of this month, we asked you the question: to build, or not to build? This week, we finally reach the final part of our second question: to buy, or not to buy?

One of the more obvious potential downsides of buying a previously owned home are the realities that, when that home was built, it was constructed for a different group of people, with a different set of tastes, and in a different time. As such, there may be elements of the home that you wish had been done differently, or that are missing altogether. Some of these you may be able to live with, but others may need to change or be built entirely. Make sure to weigh the cost of the property with the cost of any future improvement projects, and the mental cost of that additional stress and responsibility.

Be aware of the neighborhood (and neighbors) you are moving in with! Unlike planning a new home in which you have some flexibility over the plot of land upon which you build, an older home will come with its own plot of land, its own next-door neighbors, and its own neighborhood. Living next to apartments with college students will be a much different experience than living next to an older couple who has been there for decades. Similarly, make sure that any local amenities you may require are easily accessible. Are there schools nearby if you plan on starting or moving with a family? Churches in your denomination? Affordable and convenient grocery stores? All of these will be helpful points to consider when selecting an older home.

Along with the charms of an older home come a host of difficulties as well: those paned windows you love so much may let in more drafts and cold air through the winter months, the spacious and airy rooms could mean less storage space, and the antique lighting fixtures might rocket up your electricity bill. Older homes are naturally less efficient than their modern counterparts. Assessing your needs in terms of space and monthly utility bills, as well as having a thorough inspection by a trusted home inspector will help you to meet some of these challenges head-on and prevent or, at the very least, prepare for some of the difficulties faced when inhabiting a building that may have been built before you were born.

Armed with the information of both the past month, we hope that you feel better equipped to begin asking yourself the important questions that will lead you to your ultimate decision. Now it’s to build, or to buy? That is the question!

Until next time, homeowner!