Should you buy an older home? A lot of people think so! While around 500,000 homes sold this year will be new construction, the vast majority – 5.2 million – will be existing homes, many of them older homes. In addition, the “typical home” purchased was built around 1976, and many homes are older than that.
But hold on! Before you jump in and buy an older home, you need to be aware of the pros and cons of buying older homes in Boston.
Pros of Buying Older Homes in Boston
Without a doubt, there are several advantages to buying older homes, such as:
One of the most compelling pros of buying older homes in [market-city] or anywhere else is the fact that they typically cost much less than newer homes, particularly new construction. “On average,” statistics show, “a newly constructed home can cost 25 to 30 percent more than an old home.” Although older homes may be in more desirable locations, which can drive up the value, they “are generally less expensive than their newer counterparts.”
CHARACTER AND CHARM
For many people, one of the biggest draws of older homes is their character and charm. Newer homes in newer developments often look as though they were all cast in the same mold, without any individual character or distinguishing personality. Many older homes throughout the Boston – including such cities and neighborhoods as Cambridge, Dorchester, Southie, East Boston, and Brookline – have distinct architectural details (Victorian, Craftsman, or Triple-Decker, to name a few) that lend variety, interest, and charm in a way that new construction just can’t duplicate.”
More often than not, older homes have fairly large yards (and beautiful mature trees) compared to new homes. Overall, lot sizes have been shrinking while builders are still trying to maximize house square footage. No matter how great a new home may seem, that postage-stamp back yard could hinder outdoor living and kids’ playing.
AVAILABILITY AND LITTLE WAIT TIME
Often with new construction, you’ll have to wait to move in while the final touches are being put on the home. And whatever the builders tell you in terms of completion and delivery – plan for delays. But buying older homes in Boston usually means that you can move in right away because the home actually exists, has a certificate of occupancy, and is fully operational in terms of water, utilities, and structural integrity.
Buying an older home is, most of the time, a good investment – often a better investment than buying a newer home. The supply of older homes is, naturally, shrinking, but the demand for them remains strong. And those larger lots, which are also becoming fewer, help older homes remain or increase their value.
Here’s how to explain this phenomenon – if you plan on buying an older home, you have the opportunity to increase its property value! You can increase an old home’s property value through renovation and adding improvements. You can add bedrooms, outdoor amenities, and improve the overall look and condition of the house. So once you want to sell it, its property value would increase.
Cons of Buying Older Homes in Boston
But the flip side of this coin is that there are some definite disadvantages to buying older homes, for example:
MORE MAINTENANCE AND UPKEEP
By definition, older homes will require more money and labor for maintenance and upkeep – they are older, so things are wearing out. Buying an older home, then, will require less money initially, but the ongoing maintenance expenses will be higher. Some of the more expensive repairs you’ll commonly face are a new roof, window replacements, and new HVAC system installation.
As we mentioned above, older homes typically have larger yards with large mature trees. While those trees are beautiful and great for shade in the summer, they also fill your yard with roots. And those roots can wreak havoc with sewer and septic systems and foundations.
LIMITED STORAGE AND CLOSET SPACE
Forty years ago, people just didn’t have as much stuff as we do now, so they didn’t need as much storage and closet space as we do today. Limited storage space is a con of buying older homes in Boston that some people find a huge inconvenience.
HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARDS
Don’t neglect to take this into account before buying an older home. Many older homes that haven’t been updated can pose some (sometimes serious) health and safety hazards. First, there is the old wiring along with the likelihood of lead-based paint. And a lot of older houses have siding and insulation containing asbestos.
COST OF INSURANCE
Often owing to the health and safety hazards listed just above, older homes will often cost you more for insurance. Older homes present more risk for insurers, so they will charge you more for your homeowner’s insurance.
If you’re still having trouble deciding which is better for you – an older or a newer home – let us help you and provide some expert guidance. Find out how our agents at NextHome Titletown Real Estate can help you make the right decision. Contact us today! (617) 657-9811
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