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Homes come in all different ages, and that can affect which you might want to buy. Here's how to choose what's right for you.

While some people are drawn to the charm and character of older homes, others prefer newer homes with more upgrades and amenities. If you're shopping for a new home, our real estate agents recommend looking at both old and new houses before you make a decision to invest.

If you're searching for D.C. homes for sale, you'll find a variety of old and new houses in different neighborhoods. It's important to consider a number of factors, including the age of the house, repairs and maintenance, upgrades and amenities, home comfort, and home safety before you make an offer and sign on the dotted line.

The Age of the House

The age of the house may have a big impact on your finances depending on what repairs and upgrades have been done by the seller over the years. While the home's charm and character may be enhanced by large, mature trees, pane windows and french doors, wooden ceiling beams, and tongue-and-grove hardwood floors, the structure of the home may need a lot of work. If you're considering an old house, make sure you look for potential problems such as:

  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Water damage in the basement and attic
  • Signs of mildew and mold
  • Asbestos insulation
  • Lead plumbing pipes and paint
  • Signs of rodents, insects, and termites

Repairs and Maintenance

If you buy an old house, you should expect to have more repair and maintenance expenses than in a new house. Depending on the age of the home and if the previous owner did regular repairs and maintenance, you could be looking at significant expenses.

The most costly repairs will likely be for new roofing, new windows, a new HVAC system, new insulation, new plumbing, and new wiring. If the previous owner has done these repairs or if you buy a new house, you likely won't have major repair costs for another 10 years.

Upgrades and Amenities

If you're looking for a house with a lot of upgrades and amenities, you probably won't find them in an old house. Newer homes come with a variety of upgrades and amenities that add significant resale value. These include:

  • Upgraded kitchen appliances and countertops
  • Upgraded kitchen and bathroom fixtures
  • Double-pane windows and doors
  • Large two-car or three-car garages
  • Finished basements
  • Smart home features

Home Comfort

Most old homes usually have smaller rooms, fewer closets, and fewer home comfort features like energy-efficient windows, energy-efficient HVAC systems, energy-efficient thermostats, energy-efficient appliances, and solar panels. If you're drawn to old houses, you should consider how much these home comfort features will cost you and if you're willing and financially capable of paying for them. If you're not sure, it may be best to consider a new house that already has them. Old houses often sell for about 30% less than new houses, but you have to factor in these other expenses.

Home Safety

Whether you're looking for old or new houses in D.C. neighborhoods, it's important to consider home safety for your family. If you find a house you really like, take a look around the area to check out the surroundings as well as home safety features.

  • Community Safety – Before you make an offer, check out the safety ratings in neighborhood shopping areas, restaurants, schools, and community parks and playgrounds.

  • Home Safety – Old houses have fewer required safety regulations, so a home inspection is essential to check for faulty construction and wiring, leaks and water damage, and hazardous materials.

If you're looking for a home in the D.C. area, contact us today for a home that's the right fit for you.

    Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 11/30/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 11/30/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Bright MLS (last updated Wed 11/30/2022 2:39:13 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than AveryHess, Realtors® may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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