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Buying a Home - Old versus New

Are you in the market for a home? If so, how do you envision your ideal abode? Do you see yourself in a cozy, old, Victorian treasure complete with gingerbread trim and ornate fireplaces? Or does the image of a brand new home built with today's state-of-the-art technology beckon to you?

Either way, you will find that the rewards of purchasing your own home are immeasurable. The security, comfort and peace of mind you get from home ownership - regardless of your preference for old or new - are well worth the investment.

Keep in mind that the time is right for purchasing. With lower interest rates, government incentive programs and more variety in housing opportunities than ever before, the market is very encouraging.

Look and compare

As you search for a home, you may want to look at and compare those that are both old and new before zeroing in on your particular preference. It is important to keep an open mind.

For instance, you may find a perfect 100-year old gem that needs a lot of renovation and tender loving care - but this may not necessarily fit into your budget plans, or your hectic schedule, if you plan to do a lot of the work yourself.

On the other hand, you may find a new home attractive but would have to spend extra money on landscaping and installing some of the amenities which may be part of the package in an older home.

In many cases, brand new homes aren't always as close to the amenities you may crave - like corner stores, libraries, shopping and recreation areas - simply because the neighbourhood hasn't yet been fully developed.

Advantages of an older home

Advocates of older homes will tell you that it is difficult to duplicate the charm of an older house in a newer one. In addition, with an older home you often get the added advantage of improvements made by previous owners.

Here are some of the advantages of an older home:

  • you can see exactly what you are getting and don't have to try to picture the completed house from a set of blueprints;
  • the house has been "shaken down", i.e. structural faults are clearly seen and can be or have been corrected;
  • the neighbourhood is fully built up and its character has been established;
  • there are existing recreation areas and a variety of local services;
  • landscaping already exists;
  • there are generally fewer immediate move-in costs because basic features like drapery tracks (and sometimes even window coverings) are already installed. And chattels, such as special lighting fixtures and appliances, are often included with the sale of an older home.

Advantages of a new home

On the other side of the coin, new home advocates will point out that buying a brand new house is like getting a fresh start. You can make a choice between a custom-built home designed exactly to suit your needs and a home built from plans you have seen built into a model home.

Here are some other advantages of buying a new home:

  • you have much more flexibility with a new home in customizing your decor and landscaping to suit your tastes. You get fresh, unblemished walls and you can usually choose the type of flooring, carpeting and cupboards that you want;
  • with most new homes, you generally get more storage space (such as closets) and larger rooms;
  • today's minimum standards for plumbing, electrical, insulation and heating systems are higher than ever before;
  • traditionally, land values tend to increase during the first few years as neighbourhood services develop and the subdivision nears completion.

Consider location

Regardless of what type of home you choose - old, new or in between - be sure you examine all your options first so that you and your family are happy with the final choice. And don't forget to consider location; experienced Buyers know that it is the number one factor.

Multiple Listing Service, MLS®, REALTOR® and REALTORS® are registered trademarks of the Canadian Real Estate Association. REALTOR® identifies a real estate practitioner who is a member of the Association.

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