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Old 02-19-2011, 11:11 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,854,230 times
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I've seen as much drama, if not more, from my friends who've bought new construction as I've had with my 50 year old but renovated rambler.

The drama includes: contacting the builder when things go wrong, the lumber settling or drying out, poor quality initial appliances, etc.

So what is the appeal of new non-custom construction for folks? I know I think way out of the box but am curious as to why folks will rule out homes older than 5-10 years old.
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:42 AM
k8p
 
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New homes are clean and usually neutral in color scheme. Homes that are older than 5-10 years might need new paint, updated appliances, new roofs, etc. and some folks have no desire to do any of that.
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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We've had three brand-new homes. We get to customize them the way we want. (I know you said non-custom -- but you do get to pick the floor plan, elevation, and options.) We don't have to worry about any undisclosed problems or defects -- we have a year during which the builder is responsible for anything that needs repair or adjustment. Nothing needs to be replaced, upgraded, switched out, repaired, etc. for a very long time. I know a lot of people enjoy home improvement projects, remodeling, redecorating, etc., which is great for them, but those bore my husband and I silly. Having to spend Saturday mornings at Home Depot and weekends going through a big "honey-do" list would drive us crazy, as would expenditures for appliances that wear out or break down. Our current house is now old enough that we're replacing things, but overall it's been pretty easy and carefree.

Not saying one or the other is superior, it's just a matter of taste and priorities. But whenever these discussions pop up (it's been a while), some (not all) people with older houses get pretty vitriolic about new houses, to the point where it sounds like they're way too defensive about their own choice. So hoping that won't happen here! (Although argumentative threads are sometimes more interesting ...)
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:54 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,761,297 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
I've seen as much drama, if not more, from my friends who've bought new construction as I've had with my 50 year old but renovated rambler. . .
So what is the appeal of new non-custom construction for folks? I know I think way out of the box but am curious as to why folks will rule out homes older than 5-10 years old.
Newer homes have been unlived in. They won't have the smell of dogs, urine, smoke, etc. from any previous owners. They are wired to handle 4+ services for cable, internet, etc. They have 200 or more amp systems for electricity to accommodate a/c and heating systems, generators, and outdoor lawn equipment. They have copper piping so there's no lead or asbestos-wrapped pipes. They (most) have decent insulation in the walls, doors, and 2- to 3-pane windows. They come with ac and heating systems which won't break down anytime soon. They have 40-50gal water tanks for large families. Fireplaces are vented and designed for natural gas, propane or even electric so there's no need for a chimney.

Alot of people want move-in ready, not something that needs work, even if it's a little work.

That said, there is a benefit of quality with the older homes. For example, older homes were built with lumber from nearby areas, not stuff grown elsewhere and shipped to another part of the country and thus local wood was attuned to the local environment and tolerant of a location's weather, insects, etc. -- fewer problems with drying out, curing, warping, etc.

I had a brand new house in Loudoun Co and it was fine since I was a first-time homebuyer and didn't know much about houses. But I wanted an older, historic home and we ended up buying one in downtown Historic Winchester. We are now in an 80-yr old Arts & Crafts American Foursquare and we love it.

Although there are some features from newer home that are absent, there are things we do have: solid brick (entire house), pocket doors, 2 set of french doors into the dining room, high ceilings, hardwood floors throughout, thick plaster walls, the original chandeliers, original glass doorknobs on all doors, thick solid wood paneled doors (not the foamy composite stuff in new houses), 8" baseboard molding, thick molding on all doors and windows, a very large front porch with thick elephantine columns and a massive amount of windows about 3'x6' ea. We have a fireplace with a chimney that I am having converted back to a wood-burning fireplace. Our kitchen has a porcelain double-drainboard farmhouse sink--really cool and I've seen vintage ads from Kohler who made these kinds of sinks in the 1930s and 1940s.

This is a very solid house and the architectural features are unbeatable. I love old houses; I doubt I'd ever buy a new one again.
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:17 PM
 
2,879 posts, read 6,810,332 times
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I think some folks just like the sexy salesgirls at the model homes.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:24 PM
 
5,070 posts, read 8,604,955 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
I've seen as much drama, if not more, from my friends who've bought new construction as I've had with my 50 year old but renovated rambler.

The drama includes: contacting the builder when things go wrong, the lumber settling or drying out, poor quality initial appliances, etc.

So what is the appeal of new non-custom construction for folks? I know I think way out of the box but am curious as to why folks will rule out homes older than 5-10 years old.
If recent surveys regarding the preferences of younger buyers are to be believed, we should continue to see plenty of interest in older, smaller homes in close-in suburbs such as Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church in the coming years.

I've lived in both older and brand-new houses, and they all have some issues. It's a bit harder to call the builder to complain, however, if - as was the case with the first home I owned in this region - the house was built before 1920.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:30 PM
 
1,099 posts, read 1,803,652 times
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Quote:
Although there are some features from newer home that are absent, there are things we do have: solid brick (entire house), pocket doors, 2 set of french doors into the dining room, high ceilings, hardwood floors throughout, thick plaster walls, the original chandeliers, original glass doorknobs on all doors, thick solid wood paneled doors (not the foamy composite stuff in new houses), 8" baseboard molding, thick molding on all doors and windows, a very large front porch with thick elephantine columns and a massive amount of windows about 3'x6' ea. We have a fireplace with a chimney that I am having converted back to a wood-burning fireplace. Our kitchen has a porcelain double-drainboard farmhouse sink--really cool and I've seen vintage ads from Kohler who made these kinds of sinks in the 1930s and 1940s.

Send directions. I'm moving in!
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Novastan
384 posts, read 898,253 times
Reputation: 167
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!
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,795,499 times
Reputation: 42860
Personally, I'm a fan of buying homes that are 5-10 years old, since I like mature landscaping. But I can see the appeal of new construction. I have friends who are building a house right now and they have been able to customize some details, even though they aren't custom homes. For example, they didn't like the direction that some of the doors opened, so they asked the builder to put in doors that opened to the right instead of to the left.
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
2,306 posts, read 1,345,964 times
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I personally love new construction for my family. I have built twice and the attraction is: I get to pick what I want, it's new so the systems are new, there is a warranty, I know it's clean, etc. Wood drying out and settling happens will all homes and is a minor thing for us. The builder comes back at 10 months and fixes nail pops and such. We have had some dryout on our new home, but the builder has fixed them for us.
Now, as a Realtor, I also fall in love daily with all sorts of homes. I love older homes with charm. And that is very appealing to people...finding something special that homes that are new do not have.
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