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Old 02-19-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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I think for some of the same reasons people like to buy a car new - people just love brand new.

When you buy an older home you dont know how well the previous owners have taken care of things - ie. - some people remodel not up to code - if you ever watch that show Holmes on Homes you can see how many things can be messed up in an older home - but I guess new construction has its problems also.
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Old 02-19-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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That new house will never be new, after you live in it. The builders can only make big profits, where land is relatively cheap, using cheap labor. Just imagine what kind of houses the people building your brand new vinyl toolsheds have spent the majority of their lives in. Think El Salvador, Honduras, Guatamala....................think cardboard................
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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Put me in the old house column.

They're just built better with better materials. The lumber was cut from old growth timber, not tree farm species genetically engineered for fast growth. My dad built the house I live in the late 40's. He enjoyed it so much, he built a couple thousand more houses all over NOVA and MOCO.

Maybe I was overly influenced by the Three Little Pigs....but I want a REAL brick house, not this "brick veneer" nonsense so prevalent today. What happens when those little clips that hold the bricks to the wooden frame rust out. I guess the bricks come crashing down! But I suppose one could replace the bricks with vinyl siding....at least then the front would match the other three sides! What an abomination "brick fronts" are...LOL

Modern new houses are built to maximize profits, so they cut corners anywhere they can. Pop didn't do that, and still died a very rich man....but people are different now...profit levels are never high enough. Look at all the disasters that have resulted....aluminum wiring....FRT plywood....Chinese drywall....plastic water supply pipes that failed after a few years, just to name a few. All in the name of saving a buck...but at great cost to many buyers later.

I wonder what these vinyl clad wonders will look like in 60 years? But I guess most transients around here will be gone in 5 or 10 anyway, so what does it matter? Down the road, they can just bulldoze 'em and throw up, or truck in a new vinyl clad wonder. I had a buddy that was putting an addition on his vinyl clad wonder and I helped with some demolition. I bet him $20 that, with just a utility knife and my size 12 boots, I could enter the house THROUGH an exterior wall faster than he could kick down the door. I sliced through the vinyl and that 1/8" paper crap they call sheathing, kicked and punched through the drywall and walked between the studs into the house. I won the 20 bucks.

About the only modern construction innovation that I approve of is poured concrete foundation walls...they are a definite improvent over the cinder block walls of old.

Just my opinion....without ANY vitriol towards those that prefer vinyl clad wonders! LOL
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
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We can go either way, but are building a new home this time. For one thing, we are big about energy efficiency and green building standards which obviously are going to be existent in most new homes rather than older ones (although some people do remodel their older homes to include such things but we didn't see any of those in the area when we were house hunting). I must admit that I would prefer a historic home that has a bunch of character, but they are hard to come by and have a lot of repair issues usually and in this area, we would have to increase our commute and budget to accommodate that. I can't say that we have had any problems with the builder thus far, and most of the headaches are more related to my DH and I agreeing on the details of our new home.
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:06 PM
 
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all of those highly touted energy efficiency features aren't as permanent as people think, and will be replaced with scheduled maintenance the same way they would be in an older house. That 16 SEER A/C will only be running like an 8 SEER in 6 or 7 years. Those fancy windows lose their efficiency as well, and may only have a life of 10 years. Anybody can go buy an energy star washer or frig. or new HWH. Look at a map of new home subdivisions v. a map of existing homes, then tell me who is going to be doing the driving, and who is going to be living with neighbors that are living there because they just had to have the extra room due to their poor family planning. People live in Woodbridge because they have to, people live in 70 year old homes in Arlington, because they want to. I also believe that having a larger percentage of your investment in much pricier land is a safer bet--the big payday will come with the bulldozer.

Give me 1500 feet of 1958 house on a 11,000 sf lot in W. Springfield any day of the week over 2700SF of 2002 house on a 7500 SF lot ANYWHERE in PW County.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:54 PM
 
564 posts, read 1,274,125 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khuntrevor View Post
Give me 1500 feet of 1958 house on a 11,000 sf lot in W. Springfield any day of the week over 2700SF of 2002 house on a 7500 SF lot ANYWHERE in PW County.
Amen to that. When my wife and I were looking at houses, we saw a lot of newer townhouses that were in the same price range and similar in size to the 50 year old rambler I finally decided on but I like having a half acre to sit on versus a tiny slot of land buried in between a gazillion other houses. Also, I'm not going up and down stairs all the time. Plus, I enjoy the remodel projects and we can do them exactly the way we want versus choosing from the builder's palate of options.

Seems to me they don't really make many SFH's in NOVA in that size range anymore. It's either a TH or step up to the McMansion Jr.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:36 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,860,633 times
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OK, thanks for the answers.

It does seem like there will be drama either way, and there's a bit of survivorship bias regarding older houses. Namely, the older houses that survive to today were probably better-built and were better maintained over the years. The bad construction has probably already been torn down and the poorly maintained has already been gutted or (more likely) torn down/rebuilt.

For me it is about the price points and location. I prefer something more walkable, older homes are generally less expensive, and it probably takes a few years for an area to get some character.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:49 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,940,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandoras View Post
I don't want to deal with older homes because of the:
possible lead paint issues
absestos tiles
old plumbing and wiring
issues with HVAC

I don't want to buy someone's albatross!
Some of these are accurate concerns, but on some, I think you've been fed some alarmist information. Old plumbing can be problematic, but no more so than new plumbing. Same with electrics; you don't want the stuff from 1900, but then you don't want the aluminum wiring from the 1970s either. Our current house has wiring from the early 1940s, and it works great.

In fact, I think the evidence is that the overall attention to detail and quality of work among tradesmen of yore was generally higher; there are great plumbers and electricians now, but there are also a lot of idiots who don't know what they're doing, which I think was less common then.

Asbestos tiles are fine. The asbestos cannot get out into the air because it's embedded in the tile material. I suppose if you were to start sawing on it, that would be bad. Asbestos pipe insulation is actually very efficient, and if you have it, the only reason to get ride of it is if you're selling the house, because people mistakenly think it's a health risk. (And removal will cost you thousands.) It's not a risk unless you start beating on it as you inhale. The people who got cancer were mining it.

Lead paint is actually OK if it's not peeling. If it's been painted over many times, it's fine.

I say all this as someone who could not be more pro-consumer and pro-environment--and as somewhat of a paranoid health nut. (E.g., I won't use a plastic coffeemaker 'cause I'm afraid of BPA.)

I would be much, much more wary of a new house built in a hurry by a cheapskate contractor than an 80-year-old house built by proud tradesmen using materials that are too expensive nowadays, like plaster, copper, and slate.
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:08 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,774,073 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
. . I would be much, much more wary of a new house built in a hurry by a cheapskate contractor than an 80-year-old house built by proud tradesmen using materials that are too expensive nowadays, like plaster, copper, and slate.
Nice post Carlington.

I think several others have also brought up a key point about quality and age regarding houses. An 80-yr old house that is built well with quality materials and well-maintained by previous owners will stand the test of time.
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:13 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,774,073 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
I wonder what these vinyl clad wonders will look like in 60 years? But I guess most transients around here will be gone in 5 or 10 anyway, so what does it matter? Down the road, they can just bulldoze 'em and throw up, or truck in a new vinyl clad wonder.
Yes, big question that lots of people are asking: How long will these newer homes really last?

Quote:
. . .I had a buddy that was putting an addition on his vinyl clad wonder and I helped with some demolition. I bet him $20 that, with just a utility knife and my size 12 boots, I could enter the house THROUGH an exterior wall faster than he could kick down the door. I sliced through the vinyl and that 1/8" paper crap they call sheathing, kicked and punched through the drywall and walked between the studs into the house. I won the 20 bucks.
Great story!
Our house is built with solid brick and we have the lathe framing and plaster walls. I don't even know what "kind" of plaster; it feels like concrete.
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