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From old home to new - or new to old? What does it feel like?

15 years ago

Have you seen the new show "Sleep on It?" Buyers pick a home and spend a day and night in it so they can get a true feel for the home. I wish I could do the same!

For the 1st time in our lives my husband and I have the chance to buy any home we'd like (withing our budget of course). Dh has been offered a promotion, and the office is located in downtown Denver. So, if we take the job, we can now pretty much live anywhere around Denver and we will have a ton of homes to choose from.

Our 1st home was inherited from my mother-in-law. Our 2nd home, after a move, was one of like 3 homes on the market! It wasn't our dream home by any means. Another move brought us to our current home. This time we had maybe a dozen homes to choose from and we picked the best of the bunch according to our needs. Again not our dream home. I didn't mind that they were all older homes, but I did mind that I didn't fall in love with any of them - they were simply what was available. I didn't walk into any of them and think, "OMG, I love that molding and the yard is gorgeous and this is the perfect spot for my favorite piece of art!"

The problem we've run into, as we discuss moving, is that DH would love to buy a brand new home and I'd prefer 'used'. Even if we decided not to move, there are many new homes being built here and dh is constantly voicing how he'd love to buy one of them.

He'd like the home to be 'move in ready', no updating to be done, no little or big fix-it chores, with modern plumbing, roofing, etc. (the 'bones' - he could care less whether is had SS appliances or granite counter tops, etc., just as long as what was there was new).

I like older homes. Not necessarily 'antique' homes, but I do love a home to have that lived in feel. Am I strange for that? I like putting my own stamp on it, but to me an older home feels comfortable - it has history and personality and I can feel that, good or bad. New builds, to me, look beautiful but feel sterile.

Now I'm sure we could compromise and buy an older home that has been completely updated from top to bottom. But before we do that, I thought I'd ask if anyone else has moved from an older home to a brand new build? Or the other way around - from new to 'gently used' ? :)

What does living in a new home feel like versus when you lived in an older home? Do you feel better inside your heart? Proud? Lonely? Like part of the mass of humanity? Something else? I understand that we make a home our own by putting our own furniture and decorating tastes into it - that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm interested in how the newness feels compared to the older-needs-a-face-lift home? In a way I'm not sure what to even ask, or how to explain. I've always lived in older homes and have no basis to work off of when it comes to new.

Can you help? Will you share what it feels like? I'd love to give my husband his dream, but I'm very afraid that I won't feel at home.

Comments (30)

  • patty_cakes
    15 years ago

    You can buy a new home and have it your way also, if it's a spec and it's at the point where you have the option to pic and choose cabs/flooring/light fixtures/plumbing hardware, etc. If course this is what is usually found in developments, but there are some pretty upscale developments in Denver if you have that freedom.

    You can create character in a new home too, but it does have to have good bones or it isn't worth the time and effort.

    I just sold an '84 condo which I had updated, but some things can't be updated and you only want to spend a certain amount of money, which is usually the problem with updates. Hiring work out, versus getting work completed as part of a new house always seems to cost more. If it's custom, you expect that.

    I sold in S. CA. in November, and am in the process of building in Austin. It's what's called a semi-custom home, and I do have the option to make choices/changes, within reason.

    I don't know if I could be as excited about re-doing an older home as I am about building a new-from-the-ground up home. I would be afraid of running into a SNAFU that could be more costly than i'm willing to pay. Just my 2 cents.

    The best of luck in whatever you choose to do. ;o)

  • kec01
    15 years ago

    I'm a believer in old homes, the 85+ year old variety. I've lived in 3 and now wouldn't live in anything but. To me, an old home comes with that history and character that you mention, ladynimue. I enjoy history and I've researched the previous owners/residents of all our homes. I've met current generation family in all cases.

    To me, an older home with plaster walls, hardwood floors, double hung wood windows and lots of wood trim creates a feeling of comfort. We're done restoration work in all our homes (both DIY and hired out) to undo previous remodels and we have enjoyed a great sense of satisfaction from having completed an assortment of projects. Our homes have "spoken" to us in that we've felt our homes thank us for removing that improperly placed wall, that half-as...'d wiring, that final coat of paint.

    We've not found that we couldn't update the things that we really wanted to update. We have adishwasher, we have modern wiring and copper pipes. But we prefer plaster (better soundproofing), wood windows, old growth hardwoods, clawfoot tubs, original built-ins with leaded glass to sheetrock, vinyl windows, man made materials, and tubs with jets - that sterile feel you refer to.

    Not everyone is right for an older home...thus the predicament you are in. I hope you and your DH can reach a compromise. But I'm very much with you in that I want my home to have that lived in feel of comfort, with history and personality. Good luck coming to an agreement.

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  • terryinmd
    15 years ago

    Our last house was 20 years old when we bought it, and during most of the 21 years we lived there, we repaired, replaced and upgraded, but never had much money left to decorate. roof twice, once right when we moved in, again before we sold. Master bath ditto, other bathroom and powder room once each, to the studs kitchen remodel. Heating and air-conditioning replaced, new doublepane windows, and sliding glass door. New front door. New bushes out front.

    We bought new 3 years ago, because DH didnt want "to deal with the problems of an older home". Guess what, new homes have problems too.

    Our problems have been minor, and fixable, and the builder did come in, or send in subcontractors, after a minimum of 3 phone calls, one to the office, one from the project supervisor setting something up, and one from him rescheduling. ("NO, you can't just come by, you have to make an appointment because DH is a shift worker." "No you can't come in now, it's the middle of the night for DH" "We had an appointment for the cracked tile to be replaced and nobody showed.")

    The airconditioning unit had no accelerent, we had to ask to have access panels put in to reach the heating dampers they just drywalled right over the levers, the saga of the safety bar in the shower went on for months, nailpops were repaired on the one year anniversary and were repopped and repaired a couple more times. Although we were able to pick flooring, tile cabinet and appliances, the builder only did flat white walls. We had to wait to paint until after all the nailpops were dealt with, because they would only touch-up with flat white, even if we had supplied the paint. Of cource we were in a sellers market then, things have changed.

    At this point, if we couldn't buil from scratch with our own plan, I'd look for a house about 10 years old. Been there long enough for problems to show and been taken care of, not long enough for the roof and major mechanicals to need replacement.


  • cordovamom
    15 years ago

    My very first home back in 1977 was a brand new, nobody ever lived in it, sterile box. A basic tract home with no frills. I loved it as a first home because after an apartment it was so nice to own a home. Now I look back and wonder what I ever saw in it, no character, no warmth, no homey feeling except for what we created on a limited young married budget.

    Since then I've lived in several homes, ranging from brand new builds to a ranch home built in the 50's. The new homes had all the modern conveniences, big closets, big rooms, beautiful bathrooms, gorgeous kitchens....etc.etc. I have to tell you though that my favorite home to this day was my 50's ranch rambler. Custom made brick home. Coved ceilings, real plaster walls, genuine hardwoods, large treed lot instead of the smaller lots the new homes are being built on. We updated the kitchen, the basement and the bathrooms in that home to modern standards and I was in love with that home. I cried when we moved to Denver and because of our budget had to buy a home in a suburban area where all the homes looked the same.

    But through the many moves over the last 30 years I've discovered that you can make any home a home. My current home was only 7 years old when we purchased it. It has hardwoods, crown mouldings, etc. Interesting architectural details that you can find in a custom home along with all the modern amenities of a brand new build. So if you have to compromise with your husband and get a brand new home, I think you'd feel better if it was a custom home with custom home features instead of a basic home in a subdivision where all the other homes look the same.

  • caulk_king
    15 years ago

    Our last house was a 1910 farmhouse that we COMPLETELY re-did. Loved that house & the "feel" of it. When we were ready to move (neighborhood not increasing in value liked we'd hoped + more room needed) we ended up with a 2003 house that we at first refused to look at because it wasn't our style. We weren't crazy about the house although it was "nice" - it was purely location that sold us - the acreage was exactly what we wanted & hadn't seen in a couple of years of passive looking. So we bought it figuring we could make the house our home eventually.

    Been in it a year & surprised to find out that we actually *like* having big closets, plugs everywhere & no major renovation projects! So, I see both points of view.

    Oh - I should add that although he thought he was ready to undertake another renovation, I think that DH is lots happier not having to DIY on this one.

  • janea
    15 years ago

    I think a new home can be as charming as the nice older ones that have been described if they are built with thoughtfulness and are not part of a subdivision that has been slapped up to make money for the developer. There is a nicer subdivision here in northeastern Colorado that seems to have paid more attention to detail than I've seen before in new housing. They've used lots of mission style detailing, built-ins, etc., that make the homes seem much less sterile. Even driving down the streets is pleasing because of the exterior detailing. Perhaps you could find just such a new home in the Denver area that would satisfy both of you.

  • olga_d
    15 years ago

    When we were shopping for our first home we discovered we had a similar dilemma - he is more into the older character house, while I veered towards the newer ones. Our final decision was between a very new-looking (and new-feeling) 5 year old home and a 20 year old house with more character.

    We decided to go for the older house (though I know it's not old by many people's definition, but it really doesn't look like the new houses). Some of the things we liked that the newer homes didn't have were: much larger lot, more storage space, mature neighbourhood, and just more "personality" I guess.

    One of the things I learned about new houses when some friends bought them is that they very often have issues. One friend is still battling with her builder over some crooked doorways and cracking tile - very stressful. So if I were going to buy a new-ish home, I would probably go for one that is 3-5 years old - this way it is still current in style but some of those initial "kinks" have been ironed out.

    Another thought - many new home owners end up replacing floors, cabinets, etc. a few years down the road so they can have something nicer than "builder grade" stuff. So renovations might be in your future anyway if you appreciate things like that.

  • terrig_2007
    15 years ago

    I LOVE the character and charm of older houses (pre-1940s), but have never lived in one and don't think I'd want to considering all the updating most of them need over time. I would love to build a brand-new house and be able to pick out the flooring, colors, counter-tops, cupboards, etc., but I've heard many horror stories from people who've had problem after problem with their builder and/or contractor, so I'm not sure that's the better route to go. I am very happy with the house we bought in July. It is 35 years old and is very well built. The last owners had updated the decorating...floors, walls, kitchen, and it very much has a "new house" look vs. a 1970s look. In fact, people have commented to us that our house looks new.

  • dweenoleena
    15 years ago

    I am someone who loves houses mid-60s and older. I feel that post-1970, builders really started cutting corners and there was much less pride in work, aesthetic value, or quality materials. I go into new tract homes today and while I see some improvement - mainly in detailing/trim, and mostly because of more expensive options that owners have opted for - there's not enough to justify going 'new'.

    Those old houses, for instance the California Modern homes of the 60s, were built beautifully, thoughtfully, and it didn't take a bunch of granite countertops and slate flooring to make them look good. Craftsman bungalows are incredible too, and very liveable in my opinion (I've had the joy of living in several).

    One of the reasons I dislike brand-new homes is the toxic fumes from the new carpeting, glue, paint, finish, and so on, that hangs in the air. To me, that takes about a year to dissipate before I don't smell it anymore. That alone would make me seek out a 3-4yo 'new' house if I had to buy new.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    15 years ago

    my aunt & uncle bought a brand new home. It really bothers them that there's no room (bcs of stupid plumbing) under the sink and therefore nowhere in this brand-new beautiful kitchen to put a trash can.

    Because, well, it's new, it should have been done right. I think if they had the same situation in an older home, they'd philosophically accept it as a retrofit. And I think they'd be more willing to call in a plumber to see if it could be changed around.

    Also, they have stuff go wrong. A new home needs repair, and an old home's dings can often just be lived with. So I don't totally buy the idea that all older homes need work and new homes never do.

    The home builder has a handyman guy who is supposed to come put stuff in, fix stuff, etc., but it's hard to get ahold of him, and to get one his schedule. Yet they feel they *have* to use him, and indeed if they called an outsider they might void some sort of warranty or something. If they'd bought a 'used' home, they could just call anyone they wanted to fix or install whatever.

    I often fantasize about having a handywoman business in which I go to home purchasers and get them to put me on retainer, so they can just call when they realize they need a different light fixture, or the closet door is wonky. So they get, in effect, a handyman warranty.

    Bcs one bad part of a new community is that you don't have a plumber you can just call, or a tile setter, or a reliable contractor.

    I like Olga_D's post--there are handyman issues w/ new homes. I'm w/ her, I'd buy a new-ish home. One in which any flashing problems, or major settling, etc., had been worked out.

  • kgsd
    15 years ago

    This is something I've thought about, too. As another poster said, the allure of a newer home for me is that rooms tend to be bigger with better layouts. Things that were popular in a house layout several decades ago may not be popular now. For example, in the 80s, it seemed to be popular to have the formal living room and dining room in one big room. Our last house had that and I hated it.

    However, in the price range that most people look in, the newer homes seem to be more sterile, as the OP mentioned. I see far fewer trees around them, and the houses are much less interesting. I happen to like houses with unusual features.

    But I really think it's a personal decision, and only the OP knows for sure how she'll really feel in a new home.

    When I bought my house 6 months ago, it actually did come down to house A (newer, bigger, more boring) vs. house b (older, not my favorite layout, but has an amazingly gorgeous lot and TONS of trees in the neighborhood). I chose house b. It feels more like home to me.

  • youngdeb
    15 years ago

    We just went through this exact thing - moved from LA to Dallas, and can afford what we really want. DH wanted to leave all the "house projects" in LA - he wanted something with no maintenance needs (good luck.) Me, I don't mind the projects and love the charm.

    In the end we've found a house that splits the difference, and that we both love. It's a 50's ranch that has been beautifully maintained and updated. The age of the neighborhood means the trees are large and gorgeous, but DH doesn't have to worry about projects - the kitchen's done, the electrical's done, relatively new roof, etc.

    You'll find a home you can both agree on, if you're persistent.

  • quirkyquercus
    15 years ago

    I have only lived in new constructions and probably always will. I never liked the idea of a house with a history. But a lot of that has to do with the price range of the homes. If I was looking at million dollar homes I might not hesitate to buy pre-owned.

    When it comes to buying new though there will be repairs and punch lists and window treatments and paint and all of that. It's not a huge hassle but you'll have to stay home for quite a few days waiting for people to come and fix stuff.

    And it also depends on the market. Just about anywhere you look nowadays, especially denver, the new construction is mostly that townhouse style of architecture that many refer to as "Garage-Mahal" and they are very small lots with hardly any yard. I wouldn't be too eager to buy one of those. I'd sooner buy a preowned and gut it.

  • pamghatten
    15 years ago

    I've never lived in anything other than an older home 1940's to 1960's.

    I don't like the look and feel of newer homes personally. Around here they are usually built in subdividions, on a cul-de-sac, with the houses squished together .. and they all look they same. They all look like they are just garages, that's all you see in the front.

    I want a home built with good quality materials by excellent quality workers. My family has been in the lumber business for 3 generations, and have been involved in many aspects of the building trade.

    My current, and hopefully last home, was hand built by a german carpenter for him and his family in the 1960's. I actually bought the property for the land, and have doubled the size of the house using a local rural carpenter with amazing woodworking skills. It is now a wonderful updated well-built older home.

  • kgsd
    15 years ago

    I forgot to say in my earlier post: another thing I don't like about new homes, at least in my area and price range, the back yards tend to be small, and right on top of the neighbors. I looked at several houses where you could see right into the back of the neighbor's from the back windows.

  • chisue
    15 years ago

    Several posts have veered off the house itself to talk about the property. Both are important. Location is certainly first with me. I think we have the best of both in our new home.

    We searched for several years for a 'small house with big rooms' in a suburb farther out from Chicago than our then-present home (a 1950's ranch on a quarter acre in a close-in suburb). We finally bought another 1950's ranch on an acre in the farther suburb, planning to remodel it.

    Thank goodness we did a tear-down! We have a great lot with mature landscaping in one of the nicest parts of the town AND a house that is tight, new, with 9-foot ceilings big bathrooms, great insulation and mechanicals. All floors are hardwood except baths and back hall. All doorways are 36". Windows are big and tight. It's a 'traditional' house with nice mouldings and details, but it's NEW through and through. My cousin was right when he predicted, "With a new house you should have at least five years maintenance-free." We have had nearly seven!

    Unless an older home is truly 'historic' I wouldn't want it. Yes, there are some older homes that were well-built (and a ton that weren't and have been jury-rigged by too many DIY previous owners). "New" can be well-built too, and have the advantage of a lot of new technologies.

  • sweeby
    15 years ago

    "He'd like the home to be 'move in ready', no updating to be done, no little or big fix-it chores, "

    Sounds to me like he's never bought a new house before! Because in my (admittedly limited) experience, there's TONS of work to do on a new house:
    - Window treatments
    - Landscaping
    - Appliances to buy that may not be included (garage door opener, washer/dryer, etc.)
    - Ceiling fans
    - Little build-out things (racks in closets, garage tool hangers, etc.)
    - Sprinklers, smoke detectors, CO detectors
    - Upgrading 'builder's basic' carpets, tiles, appliances, and most especially cabinetry
    - Painting something other than builder's beige...

  • talley_sue_nyc
    15 years ago

    of course, you would do many of those things in a "used" house as well.

    But you might not mind it as much.

    And sometimes you can get a better price, if that "used" house is competing with new construction.

  • daisyinga_gardener
    15 years ago

    We moved from a new house to an older house. There are pros and cons to both.

    The new house will always feel cleaner to me, even if the previous owner of my older home was immaculate. I just can't help that feeling. On the other hand, I love older homes that have a mature landscape, and that is a huge draw for me.

    Having said that, if we lived our lives over I would think less about the actual house and yard and more about the neighborhood. We moved into our "older" neighborhood when my son was a toddler. Even though we got more value for the money, a better built house, better neighborhood and a more beautiful yard, if I had it to do over again when my kids were little I'd move into one of the newer neighborhoods that attracted younger families. My husband simply doesn't understand that, never has and never will.

    But I know many parents of young children who live in quiet, mature neighborhoods and love the peace. And if I can't live in a neighborhood full of kids, then a neighborhood full of retired people is absolutely the next best thing, to me at least.

  • mfbenson
    15 years ago

    "I'd love to give my husband his dream, but I'm very afraid that I won't feel at home."

    So buy an old home, and make a deal with him that he won't have to repair (or pay for) anything that he wouldn't have to repair or pay for in a new home.

  • sue36
    15 years ago

    I lived in a city brownstone-type building for years. It was built in 1890. I went from that to a new house DH and I built. The biggest difference (other than the amount of square footage and yard) is that the new house is clean. Now, I am not a neat freak. But the old place was always dusty. And cold. And the plumbing was a wreck.

    I don't think I could live in a real old house (e.g., horsehair plaster, etc.) unless it had been taken down to the studs.

    But our new house is not a "sterile" new house. We have a lot of land and are buffered from neighbors by existing trees. We built the house in a traditional style with lots of millwork, wood floors, light fixtures (instead of can lights), etc. There ARE new homes out there that are not cookie-cutter boring. And even those can be made spectacular if you do a little work!

    Here is a link to some new houses that are definitely not sterile.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cottagewood Partners

  • ultraviolet
    15 years ago

    I love old houses - the quality, the history (I was THRILLED when I saw the names of the owners of our then under 5 year old house on the 1930 census), and the style. If I don't win the lottery, I will never live in another "new" build (80's and up) because the vast majority of non custom built homes are just not up to my standards.

    Of the 4 new builds I lived in in my life, only two were decent. The last decent one had been built by a guy who had previously done commercial building. It was built to last and I have no doubt that one would still stand after a tornado. Because of the commercial background, the finish "prettyness" wasn't there, but those details were added later, by us.

    The last new build was a nightmare. The "quality" semi custom build was so lacking that I can't even imagine how much worse some of the mass produced really poor quality houses will last. Within the first 5 years the deck was partially rotting (no flashing between the house and it), the roof leaked at the chimney, many of the windows wouldn't work well and/or leaked at the top, lots of the trim wood was rotting out and the floors of both 1st and 2nd floor creaked in almost every spot as did the entire staircase. And then of course you had the "minor" issues like one couldn't use a hairdryer in the master bath before resetting the outlet in the upstairs bath if someone had used a hairdryer in it before the master bath. And the defective shingles requiring a complete reroof at 3 years is hard to forget.

    My brother has a friend who last year moved into a house in one of those new mass built neighbourhoods in South Carolina. Brand new. 6 months after moving in, a water pipe junction burst (iirc, they thought it hadn't been correctly connected or something) in the attic while they were on vacation and ruined most of the house and their items. The builder denied responsibility and the insurance company was blaming it on the builder since the house was still under "warranty" and it was turning into a huge mess, to say the least.

    New does not equal free of work and I'd rather strip wallpaper than deal with finding out what corners were cut.

  • lisannabelle
    15 years ago

    We recently made this decision ourselves, and opted for the older home (1940's Cape Cod) over a new home. Although there was a small amount of allure for a home no one else had touched (and I often wish my PO's had left well-enough alone!), I personally valued real hardwood floors and the ability to customize without feeling guilty about getting rid of new, perfectly serviceable items like fixtures and cabinets because I really didn't like anything I was seeing in new construction. I believe the individual builder is also important: our realtor had dealt with a lot of builders in the area, and she told us who to stay away from in terms of quality.

    I think a lot of your decision will depend on the quality of new homes available in your price range. I've seen some perfectly lovely new homes, and some where corners were visibly cut. I would probably opt for a house that had been well-kept and lived in--you skip the premium for brand-new, and usually any kinks have been worked out at that point. If your husband's main wish is not to have to do major repairs, find a house that doesn't need them. I think that would be a fair compromise.

  • marge727
    15 years ago

    There is something wonderful about a new home. The appliances are new, the paint is new. I have lived in this house for 35 years and we just completely remodeled it and its like new. There is a difference between getting a new house in an established neighborhood and moving into a gigantic new tract of homes. Many builders do what is called "in fill housing" which is a spec house on an empty lot in an established neighborhood. Thats what I have had and its great. The quality is better, and you get to pick what you want. I have wood floors now but didn't want them when this house was built originally. I wanted wall to wall when I had little kids.
    I love to garden so its nice to be able to decide where the hose bibs go, and I like to pick where I want electrical outlets and lights.
    I was married to a builder and got to live in new houses twice which we designed. Once you do that, you look at houses differently. My kids own their own homes and don't hesitate to take out a wall, change kitchen counters, etc. and they both personally make changes in the house. Everybody in the family including me has their own tool box.

  • scullybean
    15 years ago

    We moved from a brand new home (our first) to an old home. With the new home, I got to pick the lot, floorplan, finishes, etc. It was an open floorplan with high ceilings, lots of windows, great light. It was in a typical subdivision. And we had DID some problems: roof leaks, AC freon leakage, shoddy construction, bad window seals, etc. I also completely landscaped the yard from bare earth.

    When we relocated to a different state, we bought an old home in a mature neighborhood. It was old (1870), not well maintained, poor insulated, etc. It had crazy paint colors and old appliances, a hodgepodge of a floorplan with low ceilings and small windows.

    And you know what - I love the old house way WAY more than the new house. There is definitely a different vibe in the old one. I prefer the older neighborhood of all types of homes and people vs the sameness in a subdivision. Yes, there are problems that creep up but nothing that overwhelming. Our house was redone in the early 80's so most the major expensive systems had already been updated. I've been slowly replacing the appliances and bathroom fixtures. And the weird floorplan that nobody in their right mind would design - it works great for our family and I wouldn't change a thing.

  • jenanla
    15 years ago

    I grew up in the city and we lived in an old apartment. When it was time for DH and I to buy our first home it was a seller's market. All that was available in our budget were run down fixer-uppers. These homes certainly had no charm or character. We finally ended up moving a little further than we hoped and had a small home built for less than most of the old homes we looked at. As nice as I think my home is, it just doesn't have the feel of an old home.
    After much debate we decided that we wanted an old home without all of the old home issues, so we are building a New/Old home. It turned out to be too costly for us to use reclaimed materials so we are going for a period feel (think New England Colonial 1800's).

  • ladynimue
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thanks everyone! I'm sorry for not getting back on my thread earlier. I was sick for a couple of days and only now getting back on the pc.

    It's been very interesting reading everyone's thoughts. I'm finding that we might have more options than I at first thought, and also that I have a LOT to learn about houses. Sounds as if my husband may also have a few surprises in store - new homes aren't as 'fix-it' free as we were thinking.

    I'm now feeling more excited about house hunting after reading - there might be real hope of us both finding a home that we can love.

    As was mentioned by many of you, I think that a mature landscaping and neighborhood is going to be key to my feeling comfortable. You know, I sort of can't wait to go look at houses now!

  • terryinmd
    15 years ago

    I was looking out the window this morning, and saw a pickup truck, 5 guys, and a shovel, and thought "Now what!". So I thought of this thread, and a drawback to new construction I don't think has been addressed. Living in a construction zone.

    It will be 3 years in April that we have lived in this new development, and construction is still going on. This means large noisy trucks, potholes in the road, the sound of hammers, and a lot of strangers sitting around and eyeballing the house. The street didn't get a final top until the last house was built, and we didn't get streetlights or landscaping until then either.

    The phone and cable companies are back a lot, the rain catch drain basin has been redone twice. Portions of the sidewalk and curbing have crumbled and been redone, more areas will need it.

    We still aren't on mapquest, but UPS and DHL now know where we are. We had to go to the post office to pick up mail for about 6 months, until we got community mailboxes.

    There are some groupings of trees left from the wooded area that used to be here, but none of the new trees provide shade yet.

    Hopefully all construction will be finished in the next 2 years (they're building a street now for the next section of development) and when the trees and schrubs mature the neighborhood will look lovely, but right now everything looks very raw and stark.

  • sue36
    15 years ago

    I saw this thread pop up again and it reminded me of something. While some old houses are very well built, do not assume that all old houses are. I have been in several that have construction issues that have to be rememedied. One issue we have seen numerous times is undersized floor joists. People didn't use to use tile, they didn't care if the floor had a little bounce. But if you are going to update this house with tile you need to shore up the floor joists, sometimes adding columns in the basement and sistering joists. Lack of cross bracing in the attic is another issue. My SIL just bought an old home with both issues (among others).

  • demeron
    15 years ago

    Great question to ponder... If I could have found a well built home of the right vintage, in a wonderful neighborhood, within our narrow school district/walking distance parameters, I would have jumped on it. However there was no such house available though I searched for years. We did find a lot and built new, choosing the builder carefully and following closely as it went up. I adore the house, which is filled with light, has pretty trimwork, HW floors, windowseats, walk up attic, fabulous tub, etc. Every light fixture and door knob is something I like. The downsides are, it was expensive (for us)-- probably a third more than a nice older home of like quality. And we took a gamble building on an undeveloped stretch of land which looks like it will turn out badly for us-- going to have a massive nursing home looming over our back yard, alack. Also, we have no trees, our shrubs are tiny, etc. I do think that if you're going to pay the premium for a new house, the best thing is to find an affordable but trustworthy custom builder and do it yourself from scratch. Otherwise, if you can, go for the well-built charming older home which hopefully will cost less which will make up for repairs that may be coming down the line.