You may be keen on the character of older homes, from the artistic details of a particular period to the patina of old hardwoods, but there’s definitely something to be said for considering newly constructed homes when you’re house hunting. The trouble for most people is that they want something original rather than the cookie-cutter tract homes that dominate newer suburban areas. Nobody wants to see their own house four times as they drive down the block, and living in a community of homes that are all the same color can start to feel a bit institutional after a while. Plus, with homeowners associations imposing rules about what can be done to the exterior of your home, the restrictions could be altogether too much to deal with, especially if you’re a creative free spirit that wants a home to reflect your personality. And yet, there are ways to get around these issues and still find new construction, and the benefits you’ll get are well worth the extra effort.
When it comes to selecting a newly constructed home, one thing most homeowners are sure to appreciate is the lack of work they’ll have to do to make the space livable. Modern homes come with modern amenities, so upgrades won’t be necessary. You’ll likely find the open floor plan that is popular nowadays (rather than the cramped hallways and obtrusive walls of older homes), and the rooms are likely to be spacious and well-lit. You may also enjoy a neutral color palette or the addition of hues that are currently trending, instead of the avocado, orange, and brown you might find with ’70s décor or the southwestern pastels that dominated the ’80s. And you can avoid hazardous mainstays of yesteryear, like popcorn ceilings (many of which contain asbestos).
Of course, you’ll also avoid major concerns that come with many older homes, such as electrical systems that can’t handle the load placed on them by modern homeowners, or plumbing that is starting to crumble or leak. You won’t have to replace a long-expired roof or deal with drainage issues because the yard was improperly graded and the house has settled, funneling runoff straight to your foundation. For that matter, you should be able to avoid cracked foundations, sagging floors, and uneven surfaces caused by the settling that often comes with age. Mold and pests can also be issues in older homes, as can insulation that is not up to modern standards. In short, a “fixer-upper” could quickly turn into a money pit, whereas a newly constructed home is fairly unlikely to suffer such shortcomings.
What about the prospect of injecting your own personality? If you choose a home in a community that has a homeowners association, you’re kind of out of luck. You must pay your dues and abide by the rules when you buy this type of property. But not every new home on the market is located in such a stringent community. If you can find a new home that is not under the thumb of an HOA, you’re in luck, because it’s like a blank slate for you to imprint your personal stamp on. Even better, you might buy during a building phase in order to select finishing materials, paint colors, and possibly even room configurations. And if you find that you miss that old-wood patina, simply ask about using reclaimed hardwood (by the way, this is also an eco-friendly option). The long and short of it is that new home construction can provide you with everything you want in a home if you take the time to find just what you’re looking for. And it can help you to avoid the many hassles and heartaches you’ll face with an older property. But if you still want that old home charm, at least consider buying a lot and building your structure from scratch with classic blueprints.