What would you do: buying a house

posted 2 years ago in Home
  • poll: Which to picEh
    Bigger & older... Fix all cosmetic things and hope it turns out well : (19 votes)
    49 %
    Build to your tastes... 2 living rooms is overkill : (20 votes)
    51 %
  • Post # 2
    1192 posts
    Bumble bee

    Depends on how much you enjoy renovating! It’s a personal preference. I’d prefer to build from scratch and not have to worry about fixing stuff. A lot of people would like the challenge of renovating!

    The lack of double living room wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, but I would go for whichever had more land.

    Post # 3
    856 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    elizabetho:  we built our house 4 years ago after a similar dilemma. I think we made the right choice. I love our house and it’s exactly what we wanted. Also our home is built in a neighborhood with other brand new homes which means lots of young families. I have a toddler who has “friends” all around the neighborhood which is great for her and I! 

    Also the 2 living room thing is confusing to mr. Do you want two or is it too much? We have a formal living room, a family room and a huge great room. I love them/need them all. If you gave any other questions specific to building lmk. 

    Post # 4
    484 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2015

    elizabetho:  it really depends on how much work the first really needs. We bought a ‘renovation’ which has ended up taking 2.5 years! And that’s including massive financial and physical help from both sets of parents.

    Also dont underestimate how stressful any kind of renovation work is on your relationship with your OH. of course it will be so worth it, but just think about your timelines for other life events.

    In my experience, decoration works are often hiding all manner of sins, so be prepared for lots of more structural works to be needed once you peel back that 1990s wall paper 😉

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  RhianfaHW.
    Post # 5
    8387 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    elizabetho:  I’d go for the one in the better location.  However, like other PPs have said, it really depends on how much you like to renovate.

    Post # 6
    3623 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    elizabetho:  We bought a house that was structurally sound, but needed some serious work (one bedroom was the color of the “Add a comment box” below and the other one was the color of a raisin. The floors were scratched beyond belief. I questioned if the perosn who caulked the tub even consulted Dr. Google before trying it out (let alone YouTube) and our HVAC system was 25 years old. All in all, lots of work, but the house was structurally sound.

    We went with it and spent a month getting it back in shape (thank you Government shut down for giving us paid time off to paint!) before we moved in. It was slightly more expensive than we estimated, but our house is way studier than if we got new construction and the neighborhood is worth it to me.

    The house you are looking at is much newer than mine (mine is 1938), so you won’t have the more solid construction arguement. However, I have found neighborhood means everything. The other (bigger, not hot-pink and maroon-brown) house we were looking at is a 15 minute walk/5 minute drive, .5 mile as the bird flies away, but is a totally different culture and neighborhood. I could easily get to my neighborhood, but it is so nice to be in town and not isolated. The quality of life for me was higher here.

    My friends who have built their own house loved customizing everything, but found that everything cost extra. If you wanted non-standard counter tops it would be $2000 more or a different floor would be $1000. Given the choice, I would have never chosen my countertops, but I don’t hate them enough to change them. It was nice not having the choice of how many extras to have the buy on the outset. Each of my three friends who built their own went $10-$15k over budget with these add ons. They love their house, but it ended up being way more expensive than they thought.

    Post # 7
    272 posts
    Helper bee

    If you have your own ideas of what you want the house to look like, then go ahead and build it up. It will take lots of planning and replanning and time. 

    If you want like the old house with only having to fix some parts of it and you like the location, then get that. Because in future, you can always redo some parts of the house slowly.


    Boyfriend and I have recently bought a place that isn’t in a great condition, all the wood parts like the kitchen cabinets is old, old design of bathroom with really tacky tiles, etc. However, it is in a great location with a good price. We are currently getting measurements to fix in a new wardrobe. We’ll fix the kitchen at the end of this year with a brand new kitchen. We’ll redo the toilet in the future when we have time and funds. It’s good because we get to move in and slowly work on it at our own pace. 

    Post # 8
    1246 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    We have a living room and a formal living room and we never use the formal one. In fact right now it’s just a storage area for all our wedding decor.

    Post # 9
    2414 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: February 2015

    elizabetho:  We are building right now.  I don’t have any experience buying a resale, but I did live through my parents renovating their house (room by room).  

    I knew right away that I didn’t want to live in a construction zone.  Also, neither my FI or I are handy, so we’d have to hire in contractors for just about everything.  That seriously jacks up the cost.  Those are things to consider – in addition to the cost of the renos, the time and if you’re going to do it (ontop of your regular day to day jobs) and coming home to a construction zone.  After a 12 hour day I can barely handle coming home to dishes in the sink, forget about a reno. 

    The new build has been overwhelming.  There are are a million decisions, we had to pick a lot (there are 2 builders in our development, lots are pre-assigned to them.  Then we had to make sure no one next or across the street from us had the same house at the same elevation.  So it wasn’t as simple as picking a house and putting it on a lot.  We ran into a few lots we loved but the elevation of the house we liked wasn’t permitted because a neighbour had it.)  Once we finally figured out the lot and the right model/elevation then the decor options started: outside brick package – pick 1 of 12, tiles for all the tiled areas (laundry, mudroom, kitchen, powder room, front foyer), then the flooring – carpet is standard, want to upgrade? laminate? hardwood?  colour?  Do you want the oak staircase stained to match?  Do you want wrought iron spindles? plain oak? stained to match? painted white?  Standard newel posts?  upgraded newel posts?  The list goes on…. There’s a lot of choice and the chance to make it ‘yours’.  But the choices are vast, and the upgrades add up very, very quickly and even within the standard options there are a lot of choices.  And you can customize just about everything, which is awesome but by the end you’re just like “I don’t care.  Just put it somewhere.” 

    And our home isn’t a model that we can walk through.  We bought off the plans.  I liked the idea of buying one that had a model, it was easy to say ‘Oh, I love that!’ or “Nope, that should be there.”  Instead we’re stuck walking through it our heads.  (We did go in during the framing process on a weekend and took a walk thru.  At least now I can picture the layout and the space and imagine where things are going to go.)  

    Are you looking to sell in the near future?  Or is this a forever home?  DF and I never moved as kids.  Both our parents live in the houses they bought after they got married.  We knew we were looking to stay a minimum of 10 years, if not forever.  So we went with a much bigger house than we need right now.  And it means we’re doing what we want, not what would necessarily be great for a resale.  We would much rather pay this house off as quickly as possible and keep it forever and then go buy a trailer for the summers and a ski chalet for the winters.  But that kind of mentality is not for everyone, some people really like to move and renovate.  We were told the average person stays in a house 5 – 7 years. 

    In your scenario, I’d build.  But then I went with a huge house an hour outside of the city (and an hour commute) in a much smaller town and a brand new community.

    Post # 10
    812 posts
    Busy bee

    We bought a 1970 starter home and plan to sell it in a couple years along with the rental my FI owns, so that we can buy some acreage and build our dream home. But if you can afford to do that now, I say BUILD!

    Post # 11
    2179 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2024

    I say build to your taste. If the older home will already take $10,000 in repairs, it may be a lot more if you start opening up walls etc, you could find so many things that need fixing after the fact (electrical, leaks, roofing etc) things you don’t know until you start demo.

    Post # 12
    227 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2015 - Industrial/Modern

    I’d pick the better location… you can make any house look great (inside or out) but you can’t change the location of it. 

    Post # 13
    179 posts
    Blushing bee

    elizabetho:  By the way you wrote the 2 options is looks like you’ve already made a choice because you made the older house sound negative and the newer house more positive, even if it was just in the way you described the 2. Is your DH more interested in the older house?


    Personally I always prefer homes with character over newly built homes. They’ve also standed the test of time, I’ve noticed a lot of the newer homes are built quickly and with sub-standard materials (or so I’ve noticed with friends who have purchased newly built homes). Also your home ends up looking like everyone elses. 

    But that goes with my personal tastes. 

    I think you’ve chosen the newly built home.

    Post # 14
    549 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2017

    elizabetho:  Location is my no. 1 priority. But I also like renovating. Ideally, if you can afford to have the older house renovated before you move in, it’d be perfect. I don’t ever see myself building a home from the ground up/living in a new construction but that’s just my personal preference. It’s up to how you feel about renovations

    Post # 15
    2151 posts
    Buzzing bee

    elizabetho:  I would choose the older one assuming that the changes are COSMETIC. You said it’s 13 years old, which in my area is considered pretty new. My only reservation with an older home would be expensive replacements (roof replacement, shifting or cracked foundation, etc.). 

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