When looking for a home to purchase, most people are faced with the choice of purchasing an older home or a recently built or a brand new home. Both options have their pros and cons, so when faced with the decision of whether to buy an older or newer home, you must really know your housing needs.
I personally am a fan of older homes. Often older homes in older neighborhoods have more character and charm as opposed new homes in newer neighborhoods. Older homes located in older neighborhoods usually have larger yards, more trees and seem much less cookie cutter than the newly built neighborhoods. Also, older neighborhoods located in the hearts of cities usually maintain their value very well and are more likely to appreciate in value compared to newly built homes and neighborhoods built in outlying parts of cities. This is especially true now days. Today there is a trend for people to move closer into the city. This trend to move inward is in large due to the rising cost of fuel. Nevertheless, this is causing homes located centrally in the city to rise in value.
Also, if you renovate an older home you now have the best of both worlds. You have many of the benefits that a newly built home has (i.e. updated electrical and plumbing system, the home is more energy efficient, ect..), with all of the charm and character that an older home offers. If you are buying an older home that has been renovated, it is important to pull permits, look at invoices for work that was done, make sure the people that did the work were licensed, and check to see if there were any warranties for the work that was done.
Although older homes offer the benefits mentioned above, older homes also have their disadvantages.
For homes built before 1967, there is high chance that there is lead based paint present in the home. Usually lead based paint is not a problem if it is painted over, but this may not always solve the problem. Exposure to lead based paint may cause a list of health related problems. For more information on the health risks of lead based paint, please visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadpdfe.pdf
Another disadvantage to older homes is that they are less energy efficient. Older homes usually come with older windows, older heating and air conditioning systems, and less insulation which may cause the home to be an energy hog. However, the city of Tallahassee has programs available that make it very affordable to make your older home more energy efficient. The city is offering rebates on energy star appliances. In fact, until September 30th 2010, city of Tallahassee is offering double rebates on energy star natural gas appliances. The city of Tallahassee also has financial incentives for installing new insulation and repairing air ducts. For more information on financial incentives for making your home more energy efficient, visit
Another disadvantage that older homes have that might deter young families is the lack of children in the neighborhoods. A lot of time, older neighborhoods do not have a high level of turnover. Many people who live in the older neighborhoods have been there a long time and are empty nesters. The best way to find out if there are children in the neighborhood is to talk to the neighbors who live in the area.
Overall older and new homes have their advantages and disadvantages. When deciding on an older home or a newer home, it's important to look at your housing needs and make sure the home and the neighborhood fit your needs accordingly.