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Old 11-03-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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Some people say new homes are the best some people prefer older homes. Forget all the glitz and glamor. In terms of pure quality and durability which 20 year time period were the most quality homes built? Why?
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Old 11-03-2007, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Waupun, Wisconsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogplife View Post
Some people say new homes are the best some people prefer older homes. Forget all the glitz and glamor. In terms of pure quality and durability which 20 year time period were the most quality homes built? Why?
Define "quality". Also, are you thinking of the largest number as an absolute amount or the largest percentage of the homes built being of good quality?

There is probably less variability in the quality of homes today - more and stronger building codes have helped in that regard. OTOH, I'm not sure that I'd say that the quality of even most of the higher end homes is all that good. It really depends upon what you mean when you say "quality". Defining quality is not necessarily an easy thing (see Pirsig, Robert) so it will be difficult to come to any sort of consensus on what era had the most quality homes (or even which era had the highest quality homes.)

Today's homes are more likely to be plumb and square, which has to be worth something. The materials used to build them, though, are less likely to instill confidence.
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Old 11-03-2007, 10:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by escapetacoma View Post
Define "quality". Also, are you thinking of the largest number as an absolute amount or the largest percentage of the homes built being of good quality?

There is probably less variability in the quality of homes today - more and stronger building codes have helped in that regard. OTOH, I'm not sure that I'd say that the quality of even most of the higher end homes is all that good. It really depends upon what you mean when you say "quality". Defining quality is not necessarily an easy thing (see Pirsig, Robert) so it will be difficult to come to any sort of consensus on what era had the most quality homes (or even which era had the highest quality homes.)

Today's homes are more likely to be plumb and square, which has to be worth something. The materials used to build them, though, are less likely to instill confidence.
I would say largest percent of homes being good quality. I would say a particular individuals opinion of "quality". My version of a quality home would't be standard anyway.
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:33 PM
 
Location: AmCit in Philippines
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I grew up in (and am currently trying to sell) an 1870s Victorian house in Cincinnati. For fun, I go to Homarama, the "premier showcase" of the year's trends in multi-million dollar houses.

While the look and layout are all attractive, I like to walk around and knock on things. Walls, door jambs, window frames.... the number of echoes I hear from that (plasterboard or plastic) makes me laugh.

People seem to want the clean and tidiness of new, but having lived in a solidly built older home, I have a viscreal reaction to hollowness. Give me an older home any day.
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:43 AM
 
Location: In a house
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After living my whole life, up to this last year, in CA I'd have to agree the older homes seem much sturdier then the newer homes. At least from what I have seen from the earthquakes. Often times they are the ones still standing!! The older homes I have seen and been in seem warm and cozy, even when they are huge homes. Yes, the new homes are clean and modern but so many times the builders cut so many corners. Just looking at the wood in the big home improvement stores tells a little---try to find a nice straight piece...not easy. It's mass production. It's difficult to even find wood shelving in closets in the newer homes. I like the easy upkeep of a new home but as far as the quality goes, I'd probably say the older homes. Just my personal opinion!!
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Waupun, Wisconsin
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Using the homes currently standing as a guide I'd say the end of the 19th century to the 1920's would be a good guess for the highest percentage of quality homes - particularly amongst the professionally built homes (owner built homes are *much* more variable.)

Depression era houses are famous for their variability. It's also the time when significantly lower quality (my opinion) methods started to be introduced - though many of them didn't really take off until the housing boom following WWII.

Current construction has a lot going for it (I work in the home construction industry) but my idea of quality tends toward solidity - love those lathe and plaster walls! - superior materials and character.

All of that being said, I wonder how much of my preference is due to a selection bias? It seems likely that, on average, the older homes still standing would be the ones that were built the best so it might be that there were a lot of poorly built houses that I wouldn't even know about.
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Old 11-04-2007, 08:32 AM
 
Location: A little suburb of Houston
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Frankly, I told my realtor not to show me anything built after 1965 when I was house hunting. The housing boom of the 1970's resulted in a lot of thrown together houses (with some exceptions). Don't like the style of the 80's and a lot of the homes built in the 90's in my area have siding and plumbing issues (not to mention anything else). The more recent builds in this area seem to have more water intrusion and foundation problems. Foundations can be a problem in our type of soil but you would expect to see problems in a 40+ year old home, not a 3 year old home. Newer homes also seem less solid and unless you buy a custom or exceptional home (I'm talking average, middle-class buyer), the finishing touches (trim, cabinetry, material quality) are just not up to par (construction wise) with the older homes I've seen.
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Old 11-04-2007, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Sunny Naples Florida :)
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I much prefer the older homes. Especially New Englanders, Capes and the such.. I'm currently living in an 1800's New Englander with all electrical from the 1920's and original wood floors etc. I love it and found it much better than the new house in Fla I lived in.. Everything in those homes were so sterile looking I felt like I couldn't get comfortable. Now my doorways, and windows are lined in wood instead of some hightech metal and my windows are beautiful old glass and I just love it.
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Old 11-04-2007, 11:17 AM
 
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Default I don't think there is any period where all homes are excellent

No matter the age of the house there is something wrong in a universal sense.

Most new ones tend to be junk for the price. It is all about how the contractor maximizes his profit. If you get quality, it is because you know the ropes, specify it exactly, monitor the construction and workmanship. But the down sides is the materials have changed, lots of shoddy workmanship that gets hidden. The new ones do tend to have the better insulation, windows and doors. Far more energy efficient. They usually require less maintenance manhours.

The older ones have the better materials, maybe better workmanship. They also tend to have the best locations in many areas. Usually they never flood, because the best ground goes first. They also tend to not be very energy efficent and require more maintenance.

My preference is to have an older house that has had a quality gut out and up grade. Get the best of all Worlds, good location, good energy efficiency, good feel to the house. Plus the taxes might be less. I hate them ticky-tacky trac built houses.
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Old 11-05-2007, 04:02 PM
 
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Having had to deal with the plumbing and wiring issues inherent in pretty much any older home; having been party to having to tear out a lot of wood due to termite damage that is almost inevitable in certain eras/places; and having been witness to a horrific gas explosion that was the result of older gas lines, I have doubts about older construction.

However, having also toured a lot of newer homes with some rather shoddy work, I wouldn't consider them a perfect option either.
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