(Closed) How Old is TOO Old for a New House?

posted 7 years ago in Home
  • poll: A "New" Home should be...
    Anything less than brand new is too old : (8 votes)
    3 %
    Built sometime from 2000-now : (61 votes)
    21 %
    Built between 1990-now : (18 votes)
    6 %
    Built between 1980-now : (15 votes)
    5 %
    Built between 1978 (when lead-based paint was banned)-now : (15 votes)
    5 %
    Built between 1970-now : (12 votes)
    4 %
    Before 1970 is just fine! : (138 votes)
    48 %
    Other (explain below!) : (22 votes)
    8 %
  • Post # 47
    407 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2012

    Old homes are great but if they haven’t been totally renovated, they’re money pits. My husband is a contractor so he’s seen it all.

    You have to worry about lead paint, abestos in the insulation, inadequate insulation, old, non-enegy efficient windows, inadequate wiring, termite damage, wood rot, older heating system, sagging structure, poor plumbing, and roof replacement. Throw in the poor floor layout, small to no closet space, and small kitchens and bathrooms, they’re troubling.

    If you love all that, have the money to fix it, or are buying one that’s already been renovated, they’re a dream.

    Post # 48
    10452 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2014

    I set a limit of no older than 4 years for mine. 

    Post # 49
    230 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2012

    My husband and I will be living in a house that is over 100 years old, so there is no such thing as too old for us.  

    We tend to shy away from new construction, as they just don’t build homes the way they did way back when. 

    Post # 50
    1309 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2011

    I really don’t like new construction. So much of it is big McMansion-style homes where every house on the block looks very much alike. I grew up in a new construction home (this was in the 90s) I remember one time on facebook I saw a photo of someone’s kitchen who lived in our neighborhood… at first I thought they were taking pictures of my parent’s kitchen! Because it looked IDENTICAL. It was weird.

    Plus you can’t beat the steam heat you find in older homes. We bought a 1932 home with steam heat. I’ll never go back to forced air heat that makes the air in the house so dry and blows around all the dust and pet hair.

    I would say anything turn of the 20th century and older, you start to get into hairier territory – but I woudln’t buy a home that wasn’t at least 30-40 years old.

    Post # 51
    2285 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: Central Park

    Our house is from 1978 and we love it. Houses in our area built in the 1950’s are just so small. Like 1,200-1,400 square feet. But my dream house is a victorian two story with a wrap around porch.

    Post # 52
    2580 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    “Old” seems to be a relative term by area. We are buying our first house in the Dallas area and it was built in 1975–my ILs couldn’t believe we’d look at something so old. On the other hand, my parents seemed impressed by how new it was.

    While I do think they used higher quality materials/fewer cost-cutting shortcuts in the past, I have seen good and bad of both new and old homes. New definitely does not always mean better–I have a couple of friends with new houses that have had endless problems!

    Old homes have more character for sure, but in our experience we saw that older layouts can be very different than what we wanted (smaller rooms, only 1 bathroom, etc). The house we bought was flipped so the interior is all new cosmetically, but we’re still going to be dealing with issues like original windows that are not energy efficient/will probably be expensive to replace.

    Post # 53
    7776 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    A house can never be too old for me! When we moved to England, we were looking at cottages that were hundreds of years old. 🙂 I love the character and history is pre-1950s homes.

    Post # 54
    9504 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    The newer the better for me. I don’t want to deal with lead paint, asbestos, horrible outdated wiring, etc. I appreciate the character of old homes but I’m really not a super DIY person so I wouldn’t want to end up with a money pit.

    Post # 55
    9951 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2012

    Personally, I truly don’t think it is so much about the AGE of the house, as it is about HOW WELL the house has been maintained.  That really is key.

    — — —

    As I am an Older Bee… who has owned several houses, I’ll put my reply it in terms of years old (more so than actual dates)

    For my first marriage…

    Our first house we bought in the mid-1980s… that house was less than 10 years old.  And it served us well for 5 years.  We made about 50% profit when we sold it (bought for $ 80 K sold for $ 120 K)

    Our second house we bought in 1990… that house was also aprox 10 years old.  And served us well with a growing family.  We sold it after aprox 15+ Years and also made aprox 50% profit on it (bought for $ 200 K sold for $ 300 K)

    This time round…

    I am living with Mr TTR… in a home he’s had for the last 30 years… it was relatively new when he moved in (circa 1980).  This house is home as far as he is concerned.  I would prefer something a bit more “modern”… we looked at selling this one and moving into a NEW Build, but as much as the Kitchen, Bathroooms and Storage Space would be a HUGE improvement… the Lot would be smaller, landscaping would be non-existent, and the house would be a significant amount of more money (we’d back into a BIG mortage). 

    So instead, we’ve decided to stay put and renovate (Kitchen, Bathrooms, Storage, New Windows, Siding, Roof & Driveway).  Renovating is most certainly a head-ache… and an outlay of cash (aprox $ 50 K)… but to BUY NEW would have easily cost us $ 100 to $ 200 K more.  Something that we weren’t ready to do so close to retirement, we’d rather spend our money on more fun things like travel.  The advantage to being semi-retired is we also can do some of the work ourselves or work as our own Contractor (which is why the number of $ 50 is so low) for that which we have to contract out.


    Post # 56
    131 posts
    Blushing bee

    We have owned two homes that are more than 100 years old.  I love the character and location of the older houses in our community, however there is certainly more maintnance on older homes.  In the last 7 years we’ve replaced two water heaters, a furnace, a house worth of windows, plumbing galore, electrical work, roof work, and added a sump pump to one house. 

    If you are buying an older home I highly recommend scoping the line between the house and the sewer because if that needs replacing (collapse, tree roots, etc) they have to dig up your yard and charge you $10k+

    Also, it is good to consider if the prior owners may have been “weekend warriors” and DIY-ed home improvements.  Not that this is bad, but I got burned on nearly all the plumbing in less than 3 years, and the electrical was crap. The breaker and the line going to the dryer was too small for what a dryer needs.  It could have caused a fire. 

    We purchased a brand new build off the blueprints this year and are loving it for energy efficiency, layout, and lack of maintnance thus far.  But location was far more important than the year it was built to us.  Good luck!

    Post # 57
    10713 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2012

    Were trying to find a house from 1890-1920… I don’t think theres such a thing as too old a house, just poorly built or well built/ taken care of or let go of.

    Post # 58
    4099 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    FH and I built our first home, but that’s what he absolutely wanted 🙂

    Post # 59
    2493 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    If I remember correctly, our house is about 27 years old. In our case, we bought it as a power of sale, and have had to do some pretty major upgrades to it. Our neighbour’s place has held up substantially better, however, and they’ve just done cosmetic work on it…

    We weren’t really concerned with the age of a home, but more-so how it suited our family (school district, ammenities, number of bathrooms/bedrooms, etc.). That being said, Darling Husband loves the style of Victorian homes, and I prefer new-er houses. He also prefers 2-storey homes vs. the bungalo I’d like (no stairs for little ones, lol). It’s amazing that with this house (2-storey, 3 bed/3 bath) we’ve agreed on flooring and paint, and furniture… HA!

    Post # 60
    2211 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    When house hunting, I focused more on how well a house was taken care of rather than how old it was.  I looked at some houses that were 120 years old, but ended up with a start home that’s only about 50 years old because it was move-in ready. 

    I would love to live in a turn-of-the-century home someday!

    Post # 61
    3569 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    I picked other. It depends where you live. Like in Massachusetts the really old houses from 1900’s are so great in terms of the materials used, the orginal woods, and stain glass windows, they have ton of character that the new houses cannot match.

    There are pros and cons to each. If you buy an old house you check to make sure it has a solid foundation, things have been upgraded systematicly like heating, insalation, and even if it’s ugly or needs comestic changes it will be an great to restore it. Or buy a house that has been kept in great condition.

    It’s a trade off. I bought my condo brand new, however if I ever bought a house I would never buy new construction.

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