If you’ve ever seen The Money Pit, a whacky movie from the 1980’s starring Tom Hanks, you may already be aware of the pitfalls of awaiting someone who takes on a ‘Fixer-Upper’ home. If you haven’t seen the movie, and you’re considering buying an older home, you should do yourself a favor before you sign on the dotted line: make some popcorn and watch it.
In The Money Pit, Tom Hanks and his girlfriend are city dwellers who get an unbelievable deal on a true fixer-upper. It seems too good to be true…and it is. Everything starts going wrong: plumbing, electrical system, a staircase that collapses, and of course, one of those beautiful old bathtubs that crashes through the floor. That’s not even to mention the raccoon living in the dumbwaiter.
Know What You are Getting Into
If you decide to fix up an older home, you probably won’t be as unlucky as the couple in The Money Pit….probably. That being said: when you buy an older home instead of a new home, you’re taking a gamble. A thorough pre-sale home inspection can give you an idea of what you’re getting into, but let’s face it: building inspectors are only in the house for an hour or two. You will be living in the house full-time…and problems can rear their ugly heads weeks, months and years after you move in.
Beyond the unexpected expenses of older homes, however, there are other considerations when deciding between a new or older home. Buying a new home will give you a greater degree of flexibility: what features do you really want (from flooring to light fixtures to paint colors)? Energy efficiency and costs are also a big item to consider: winters in Ontario aren’t exactly for the faint of heart and an older home that hasn’t been built with modern technology and materials won’t withstand a cold winter the way a new home will. With a new home, you can also select green appliances, which will shave some serious dough off your utility bills.
Another consideration? When you’re buying a new home, you’re buying from the builder. When you buy an older home, you’re buying from a home owner who has put heart, sweat, and tears into the property. The builder has less emotional attachment to the home they sell you, so you’re far less likely to get into a war over pricing or concessions with them.
Decide What You Need
If you’re on the market for a home in London, new or old, it’s a good idea to take stock of your lifestyle, your finances, and your expectations for home ownership BEFORE you buy:
Do you look forward to spending weekends running to the hardware store and holding painting parties? Or are you more the type of person/family that wants to kick back and relax?
Is saving significant money on energy and utilities a priority?
Are you willing to keep investing in your house as the need for new repairs arise?
If You Want a New Home, Find a Great Builder
If you decide buying a new home is your best bet, Forever Homes can make that happen for you. We are a custom home builder based in London, Ontario and we pride ourselves on building homes with heart…homes that meet our customers’ exact specifications.