Should you buy an older home? A lot of people think so, and the statistics bear that out. While around 500,000 homes sold this year will be new construction, the vast majority – 5.2 million – will be existing homes, many of them older homes. In addition, the “typical home” purchased was built around 1976, and many homes are older than that. But hold on! Before you jump in and buy an older home, you need to be aware of the pros and cons of buying older homes in Los Angeles.
Pros of Buying Older Homes in Los Angeles
Without a doubt, there are several advantages to buying older homes, such as:
One of the most compelling pros of buying older homes in [market-city] or anywhere else is the fact that they typically cost much less than newer homes, particularly new construction. “On average,” statistics show, “a newly constructed home can cost 25 to 30 percent more than an old home.” Although older homes may be in more desirable locations, which can drive up the value, they “are generally less expensive than their newer counterparts.”
CHARACTER AND CHARM
For many people, one of the biggest draws of older homes is their character and charm. Newer homes in newer developments often look as though they were all cast in the same mold, without any individual character or distinguishing personality. “Many older homes have distinct architectural details (Victorian, Craftsman, or mid-century modern, to name a few) that lend variety, interest, and charm in a way new construction just can’t duplicate.”
More often than not, older homes have fairly large yards (and beautiful mature trees) compared to new homes. Overall, lot sizes have been shrinking while builders are still trying to maximize house square footage. No matter how great a new home may seem, that postage-stamp back yard will hinder outdoor living and kids’ playing.
AVAILABILITY AND LITTLE WAIT TIME
Often with new construction, you’ll have to wait to move in while the final touches are being put on the home. But buying older homes in Los Angeles usually means that you can move in right away (if that is, you don’t plan to make any renovations).
And buying an older home is, most of the time, a good investment, often a better investment than buying a newer home. The supply of older homes is, naturally, shrinking, but the demand for them remains strong. And those larger lots, which are also becoming fewer, help older homes remain or increase their value.
Here’s how the real estate pros explain this phenomenon: “[I]f you plan on buying an older home, you have the opportunity to increase its property value! You can increase an old home’s property value through renovation and adding improvements. You can add bedrooms, outdoor amenities, and improve the overall look and condition of the house. So once you want to sell it, its property value – and therefore, the listing price – would increase.”
Cons of Buying Older Homes in Los Angeles
But the flip side of this coin is that there are some definite disadvantages to buying older homes, for example:
MORE MAINTENANCE AND UPKEEP
By definition, older homes will require more money and labor for maintenance and upkeep – they are older, so things are wearing out. Buying an older home, then, will require less money initially, but the ongoing maintenance expenses will be higher. Some of the more expensive repairs you’ll commonly face are a new roof, window replacements, and new HVAC system installation.
As we mentioned above, older homes typically have larger yards with large mature trees. While those trees are beautiful and great for shade in the summer, they also fill your yard with roots. And those roots can wreak havoc with sewer and septic systems and foundations. The upshot is that you may be facing a major expense because of all the tree roots.
LIMITED STORAGE SPACE
Forty years ago, people just didn’t have as much stuff as we do now, so they didn’t need as much storage space as we do today. Limited storage space, then, is a con of buying older homes in Los Angeles that some people find a huge inconvenience.
HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARDS
Don’t neglect to take this con into account before buying an older home. Many older homes that haven’t been updated can pose some (sometimes serious) health and safety hazards. First, there is the old wiring along with the likelihood of lead-based paint. And a lot of older houses have asbestos siding and insulation containing asbestos.
COST OF INSURANCE
Finally, and often owing to the health and safety hazards listed just above, older homes will often cost you more for insurance. Simply put, older homes present more risk for insurers, so they will charge you more for your homeowner’s insurance.
So there you have it: the pros and cons of buying older homes in Los Angeles. But maybe you’re still having trouble deciding which is better for you – an older or a newer home. In that case, let your qualified local real estate agent provide some expert guidance. Find out how our agents can help you make the right decision. Contact us today! 562-881-9811