Buy a New Home or Renovate Old Home??

posted 3 years ago in Home
Post # 3
2783 posts
Sugar bee

@kfiorita:  I perfer older renovated homes. I think they have more character and you can put your own personal stamp on it.

Post # 4
765 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@kfiorita:  Right now we are in a home that we are renovating. It’s not an older home but It was someone’s starter home so they didn’t put a great deal of work into it and the house does have a lot of potential. So we are painting rooms, adding in some kitchen upgrades and finishing the basement. We’re thinking about a full renovation on the master bathroom as well. the nice part about renovations vs. buying is that you get exactly what you want vs. having to deal with someone else’s taste and style.


But it really depends on how long you plan to be in your home. We’re here for the bare minimum of another 5-7 years so we don’t feel like its a waste to invest the money into the house.


Post # 5
896 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

@kfiorita:  I would renovate provided that the house has the potential to be exactly what you want.  

Post # 6
752 posts
Busy bee

@kfiorita:  I think it depends.

Older homes are wonderful IF the previous sets of owners have maintained it properly over the years.  Many issues will come through on inspection, but many things won’t, and it all depends on how well it was taken care of in the previous decades.  

New homes, on the other hand, have the advantage of being newly built with more modern touches, but sometimes don’t last as long due to builders cutting corners or using cheap contractor-grade material to save costs.  My in-laws’ home is gorgeous and was built in 2006, and already they’re having major roof issues and some foundation seepage.

My honest opinion is to go with an older home that has had a thorough inspection; ideally you know how well the previous owners took care of it (like did they have ridiculous debt, are there updates that have been done recently that look cheap and not well-made, etc).  And of course that there’s enough space (which it sounds like you have) and in a good, safe location with good schools.

Our home was built in 1925 and has the most beautiful architecture: 10 foot ceilings, pocket glass doors between the living/dining rooms, beautiful wood trim.  However, it hadn’t really been well taken care of over the past couple decades and in the three years we’ve lived here we’ve replaced the central AC and furnace, poured a concrete patio and front steps as they were falling down, are repainting the whole house as it’s old and peeling, basically ripped out all the electrical work and have redone it ourselves (my dad used to be an electrician so that helped).

We love our home, and the benefit of all our DIY is that the mortgage was dirt cheap for a safe location and decent school system.  After another couple years though we might move and make a (hopefully) bit of profit off the work we’ve done.  It’s been a learning experience, that’s for sure  🙂

Good luck with your decision!  

Post # 7
11379 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@kfiorita:  i would weigh out the pros and cons of reno vs moving including cost, location, potential, etc.

Post # 8
641 posts
Busy bee

Old house, hands down. Most new houses these days all look the same to cut down on costs and make HOA’s feel cool about themselves. Unless you are into having your new home all out designed by an architech, with yoir feedback, fresh from the bottom up… Old cool house.

Post # 9
12865 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Unless you can get a new home EXACTLY the way you want it, I’d get a fixer upper.  At first we didn’t want a total fixer.  So we bought a ‘nicer’ home, but it was still dated and needs some fixing.  It’s not ugly enough to tear down, but not nice enough that we love it, but we paid the ‘normal’ house price instead of a fixer price.  We keep saying if we had to do it again, we’d get a total fixer and just do it the way we like, since that’s what we’re doing anyways.

Post # 10
896 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

We got a fixer upper, and have been remodeling it.  We have a big lot, so we can expand on the future as necessary.  Right now it is a 2/3 w/ pool, jacuzzi, and lake.  We pretty much bough it because of what it could become, not what it is.   I think it is tough to find a house tha is EXACTLY what you want, so I vote remodeling it. 

Post # 11
8282 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

In no way, shape, or form did I want a fixer-upper. Our budget wasn’t as high as it probably should have been in our area, and I was ADAMANT about being able to move right in. I was not putting in extra cash to fix things unless the price was insanely low and I had the patience to do it. 

That’s just me. 

Post # 12
3787 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I would pick a structurally sound old house over a new one all the time. Everyone has their own taste and that’s cool, but I am not a fan of new architectural designs or subdivision developmetns. I love neighborhoods, odd shaped rooms, and feeling like my house has a history. It’s just my personal preference though.

Post # 13
7281 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

We chose an older home that we could renovate to our taste because we were not able to afford to custom build our dream home. We purchased in an expensive area, so getting a house that was finished to our taste would have been twice the amount we were willing to spend. We knew that, at our budget, we would need to buy a fixer upper. We bought a house with good bones and adequate mechanicals, and are slowly making it our own. Around here, new developments are thrown up in a matter of weeks. Corners are cut, builders do the minimum to mass assemble these homes quickly, and they just are not homes we would actually want to own. Now, if we had $2 million to spare and custom build our dream home, it would be game on!

Post # 14
10384 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I think it depends on how much liquid funding you have available. Renovating always costs more than expected, especially in an old house. I don’t know a single person who bought an old house that didn’t end up with tens of thousands in horrible structural or plumbing/electric/water drainage disaster renovations they didn’t foresee.

New homes aren’t without problems, but at least they don’t have 100 year+ old pipes, you know?

Post # 15
332 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014 - Sea Ranch Lodge

We bought an older home and did lots of remodeling – I HATE the look of cookie cutter housing developments, and our neighborhood has so much charm! Most of the homes in the neighborhood have already been remodeled, so we were lucky to snag a fixer upper (definitely much cheaper and it has been fun putting our stamp on the house).

The only way I would buy a new home is if I was contracting someone to build it from scratch. Hopefully we can make this happen someday 🙂  

Post # 16
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

I have never bought a house more than 10 years old…

That said, I have lived in some homes for a fairly long time, and discovered that they can still be money pits when it comes to maintenance and decorating costs to get them to be the way you want them to be

(Or after 10 years, the need to do major improvements / renovations… New Roof, New Deck, Renovated Kitchens & Baths etc)

Which is WHY I would love to finally be in a position where I can either have a house custom built for MR TTR & I or moving into new construction.

There are certainly downfalls to new construction in most situations these days (Tract housing in a Subdivision with smaller lots, maybe not the best materials… ie chipboard vs plywood subfloors etc)

BUT I do long for a house that has an up to the minute room design, and new furnishings in regards to Bathrooms, Kitchen, Mudroom, Laundry Room etc.

I think in the end everyone’s situation is different… based on their disposible income … both in how much they can afford for a Mortage / House Monies and put into Maintenance, Decor, Renovations… AND how much they can contend with emotionally… be that because of upheaval or do on their own when it comes to DIY work.

It is a balance act between… Time & Money… Skills and Practicality.

Living either in a complete Worksite … being Broke… or just putting up with whatever you purchased as is.

It is what it is.

C’est la vie… there is no right or wrong… everyone’s situation is going to be different.


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