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Should I buy the old house or brand-new construction
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Question:I have been eyeballing a home in my neighborhood for some time and the price keeps dropping initially started out in the 300's and is now at $229,000. This home was built in 1973 and is 4329sqft with a pool. It has 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms). I also have a very aggressive new home incentive where I can purchase new home with 3879sqft, no pool.., only 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms for $300,000.
Which one should I buy?
Answer:For what it's worth, the new house will have a warranty. If the new house is attractive, I would probably also go for the new one. That said, I have not seen anything attractive built after 1990.
I'm basing this on the markets in San Francisco Bay Area, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Salt Lake County.
The new houses tend to be cookie cutter, TINY lots, maybe 4 different models in huge tracts of some times as many as 500 houses. (500 seen in Las Vegas). 3 different combinations of trim and color.. easy to get lost. It is my nightmare to find myself on the title to one of those. No wait. I already am! (rentals). Let me rephrase. It is my nightmare to have to go home daily into one of those cookie cutter houses.
But maybe in Denton, Missouri land is cheaper and the builder is a bit more generous, so that you don't live wall-to-wall with your neighbor. (Not the case in my above mentioned markets)
What I tried to say about builder quality. Almost all the builders today use 'green wood', a contractor explained to me. It matures after the house is built. That's cheaper than wood that has been stored for a year to harden. Result: cracks in the stucco.
Also, the size of the posts and beams is not what it was 40 years ago. I have a townhome. We had to cut the ceiling once. The beams were running with a gap of 1 foot. Today the beams are running with bigger gaps.
Now I live in a house from 1920. I was in the crawl space once, with a contractor. He explained to me that the beams that carry this house had not been available after WWII. They're twice as tall as today's beams. Yes, these beams are nearly 90 years old but hard as steel. No termite worries.
On the other hand, building codes clearly have improved. I'm not saying 'everything was better in the old days'. What was an acceptable drainage in 1980 is not acceptable today (found that out the costly way). Energy efficiency issues as mentioned above.
It boils down to which one you like more. If they are really equally nice, I'd go with the newer one.
Enjoy your (more or less) new house.