Tips for house Buyers - 5
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Virtual Realty provides a series of essential TIPS for NZ house Buyers.
Page 5: New Home versus a Resale Home. Which is the best home for you

New Home versus a Resale Home   -  Which is the best home for you?

If you are in the market for a home, you have no doubt been faced with the decision as to whether you should buy a used home or a new home.

There are pros and cons on both sides of the issue so it is important that you consider both.

Pros and Cons of an Older Home

  1. There is the obvious that you may be getting a home that has the driveway done, or a fence built, and possibly some landscaping done. These items can be expensive to install in the first place, however they are, in some cases, more expensive to repair than to install. You should check the state of repair of those items before determining their value.

  2. One advantage of an established home can be its location, if the location suits you. The faults in a used home are usually fairly visible, however, depending on the age of the home, the components may be at or near the end of their useful lives. Since there is no warranty, you should invest your money by hiring the services of a competent home inspector.

  3. The neighbourhood is usually built up and the landscaping mature and there may be recreational services already in place. You should look at the condition of these services, the state of repair of the schools in the area, even if you don't have children. You want to make sure that the home can be resold easily.

  4. There are generally less 'move-in' costs since some fixtures such as curtain rods may be in place, curtains may have been included in the price, and lighting fixtures may have been upgraded. However, since today's standards for plumbing, electrical, insulation and heating systems are much higher that even 5 years ago, the operating cost of an older home may be much higher.

Advantages of a New Home

  1. The main advantage of a new home is choice. You can choose the type and colours of the cladding, the type and colour of the roofing, flooring, paint, windows, cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, carpet, ceilings, trim and doors.

  2. You can choose the style of home, type of home, floor plan, positioning on the section, location in a subdivision. You can choose from a standard floor plan, you can modify an existing plan, or even create your own custom floor plan.

  3. New homes require less maintenance than before. Most new homes have roofing that last 20 years and aluminium windows that are almost maintenance free. They are never repainted on the exterior. The wall claddings, eaves and fascia are low maintenance.

  4. Probably one of the most important considerations is the warranty. All new homes come with a major structural defects warranty. All of the electrical, heating and plumbing distribution systems are also covered by a warranty.

  5. Another major consideration, is that you are not stuck with other people's choices. Maybe you don't like lavender bath tubs, or chopping block counter tops. Some colour trends such as grey and rose are completely out of style now, but it would cost around $ 20,000 to remove and replace ceramic tiles, kitchen cabinets and counter tops, and to repaint. Unless this is factored into the price, you may end up never being able to recoup the renovation costs when it is time to sell.

Maybe it has something to do with a childhood home we fondly remember. Many of us long for old homes built with solid construction, quality craftsmanship and beautiful details. We wistfully recall the hand carvings, plaster walls and eyebrow dormers of homes we've known.

How do the old homes we admire compare with newly built models?

Typically, old homes sit on generous plots of land in or near town. Mature trees and plantings provide shade and beautify the property and neighborhood streets. New homes are generally found in developments outside town. Homeowners who have bought into an early phase in a development can expect to contend with dust and construction sights and sounds as the remaining phases are being built. Landscaping may be skimpy or nonexistent.

Old homes were not built with our electronics-crazed families in mind. Entertaining was more formal in times past. Architects now design homes for informal living. The many cozy rooms, tight closets, and small bathrooms (very often only one!) found in old homes have been replaced with updated layouts that feature family kitchens; walk-in closets; family rooms, some with built-in entertainment centers; and two- or even three-car garages.

Energy efficiency
Those eight single pane wood windows add character to an old home, but they're not nearly as energy efficient as modern aluminium windows. While most old homes lacked insulation in outside walls and attics, the tight homes built today insulate against high heating and cooling costs. And air conditioning has evolved from large, loud, watt guzzlers to smaller, quieter, less-expensive systems.

According to an article in the Observer ("Older better? Or is new? Weigh the advantages, disadvantages of both," December 9, 1998), wood used by builders comes from young, fast-growing forests. With growth rings spaced far apart, the wood is inherently weaker and more prone to rot. Before the 1980s, commercially available wood was harvested from old-growth forests, which produced dense and durable timber.
Some owners of new homes complain about flimsy materials; thin, plasterboard walls; and shoddy workmanship. Still, new homes often benefit from new technology in building and designing. Homes tend to be designed with more windows to create an open, airy feeling.

An old home may have outdated conduit wiring. Even a recently built home may have an inadequate fuse box-style panel that falls short of the energy demands of 21st century families.

Long ago, before we understood the effects of lead exposure, lead pipes were standard equipment. Over the years most homeowners have replaced them with galvanized pipes, which have been found to corrode. Although copper piping is now the product of choice, fittings connecting old lead or galvanized pipes to the copper piping may be vulnerable to corrosion.

If the charm and beauty of an old home wins your heart, hire an inspector to evaluate the home for lead paint, insect and water damage, lead and/or galvanized pipes, outdated wiring, foundation problems and energy efficiency, including windows as well as heating/cooling systems and insulation. After you get the all-clear, you have one last consideration: Does the home fit your lifestyle? Only you and your family have the answer.

In the final analysis - It's Your Choice!

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