Love the idea of an original weatherboard character home, or maybe you prefer something brand spanking new. Well, before you plump for that ultra-modern pad, or start hunting for antique chandeliers for your ornate villa, Stephen Hart from Hometopia.co.nz considers some facts.
New homes are built with today’s lifestyles in mind and are generally easier to live in. They are built with more bathrooms and kitchens are often integrated into living areas. Don’t expect an older house to be set up to effortlessly accommodate your media room. And yes, your 90-inch flat-screen television will look ridiculous hanging in the oak-panelled library. Flow was something else far from the minds of most Victorian architects, so celebrate the idea of corridors and cubby-holes, or rule out character homes.
Historic or older houses will often be located in the more established city suburbs while most newer properties will be in recently developed areas further from the CBD. There are two plus points for the old home buyer. First, you know exactly what you are buying into when you move to an Epsom Fendalton or Eastbourne. Who knows what some of the new developer-created suburbs will eventually turn out like? Second, commuting to the city is easier from the old money suburbs. This is good for your sanity and will be good for your bank balance when you sell.
- Charm and personality
Older homes often have a character and individuality that simply cannot be found in new homes. If an older home looks good now it will look good in another 20 years. That stainless steel and black glass exterior may look spectacular now but what will it age like? Is the design merely fashionable, or will it stand the test of time?
- Gardens and landscaping
Mature trees and established lawns add to the appeal of older homes. With new homes on a subdivision the buyer needs to have imagination to visualise how that scrappy vegetation between the bulldozers might one day develop into a lush tropical landscape. Or will it? Landscaping is expensive and some developers may be tempted to skimp on the orchid count.
It’s funny how the charm and personality of your original villa can quickly evaporate when you are presented with cost of replacing the rotten floorboards that have just given way under your Victorian claw-foot bathtub. Get used to the fact that old homes require maintenance – some of it suddenly and in a big way – and if you are no handyman, that means expense. Make sure you factor maintenance and renovation costs into your purchase price budget when buying an older property. At least with a new home you get a warranty to cover any major problems while the house settles into its foundations.