Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
House Buying: New Construction vs "older" home
Old 02-28-2011, 04:17 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 52
House Buying: New Construction vs "older" home

Just had a deal fall thru on a house because of foundation related issues (had a great inspector that caught it). The house is 40 years old and sadly was not maintained well by the current owner.

Now I'm not sure what to do next....

I'm looking in a location in which sadly buying a 800K house will pretty much land you a dump that needs renovations! Very sad... the reason I'm looking there is because of family and the desire to be near them. Not ideal but it is what it is.

So, now I'm wondering if we should look in another town, and possibly even looking at new construction, in which 800K will at least net you a very, very nice place.

Problem is I'm scared of new constructions because they were profit generators for builders during the bubble. And the corners that were cut are definitely scary especially as the homes will age. Was burned as a child, with a new home as we had water leakage problems almost immediately, and then of course the builder then "disappeared".

I think watching Holmes Inspection also scares me when it comes to new constructions.

Been going back and forth, since I really don't want to do major work on a new home. But are the newer homes worth it? Dunno...

What are your thoughts?
__________________

__________________
wilkens21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-28-2011, 04:37 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,115
If you had a good inspector check an old home, why not have a good inspector check a new construction home?
__________________

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 05:14 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Lisa99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: The Villages
Posts: 1,327
and you can request inspections at each stage of the construction. If the builder says no to the phased inspections, I'd find another builder. I'm sure there are many out there that would love your business.
__________________
Lisa99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 06:24 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,976
I had a house built from the ground up once in 1990, it was still the best house we've ever lived in (size, floorplan & features/amenities) but I don't think I'd ever do it again. We relocated to another state in 1993.

It took 7 months to have built, was supposed to be complete in 4-6 months. I went to the jobsite every single day after work, found quite a few sizeable errors (some examples - shower plumbing in the wrong wall, insulation left out completely after I'd paid for an upgrade, shingles put on with no felt underneath, etc.). The builder corrected every one of them properly, but I am sure he wouldn't have done so if I was not watching him like a hawk. It was sub contractor errors and he really wasn't watching them very closely. We only lived in the house for 3 years, though I visited the new owners when the house was about 20 years old and it's still in good shape.

So you can get exactly what you want, but you'd better know something about how construction is supposed to go and be prepared to supervise the job yourself. And you'd better have the stomach to raise issues immediately when they occur, if you can't handle conflict, you'll have issues. YMMV
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 06:34 PM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 702
I have only owned 2 homes in the 35 years that I have been working. The first was construction by a builder who went bankrupt. Which caused a big delay and some financial setback. The home that I am in now was built by a builder on speculation. I would not buy a home from a builder that was not completed after the first experience.

Things worked out ok in both cases.
__________________
FreeAtLast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 06:37 PM   #6
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,899
I can't imagine buying an existing home without an inspection or multiple inspections. The point of an inspection is to find out about issues like foundation problems. Then if a significant problem is found, you can either negotiate price or back out as you did, depending on the problem.

Just because one existing home didn't pass inspection, is no reason to reject all existing homes! I'd look at more of them, if I were in your situation.

I can't answer about new homes, because although I did have one once, I presently prefer existing homes. I like the fact that an older home has a history.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 06:50 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,001
I think you should be able to find a good quality older home, that's my preference now from a quality and value point of view. I'm sure you walked through this house one or more times before the inspector found the foundation issues. I would suggest looking at the inspector's list of items and use this as a guide for any home you consider, old or new. When I bought my current house, I had to point out a few issues to the house inspector that he didn't catch. The more information/research you do yourself only helps in the long run. Know your strengths and weaknesses, keep the inspector that you just used, it seems you liked his work. When I went looking at homes w/DW, she looked at the cosmetic stuff, I concentrated on the inner workings of the home. I know my weakness is with heating/AC and complex electrical work. I only got into this years ago from financial need/hobby interest. I always wanted to do some woodworking, then it morphed into full blown home remodelling as a hobby.
__________________
Dimsumkid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 06:58 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
I would continue to look at older homes. The advantage is that their defects are easier to spot than the newer ones. Tell your realtor that condition is priority one. The word gets around in the 'trade' which ones have problems and your realtor doesn't want to waste his/her time on a failed sale. Keep the name and # of that inspector and let him/her know that you are the client, not a realtor. Oh, and send that inspector a bottle of wine (or flowers) for catching that.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 07:10 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,001
You didn't specify what the foundation problem was, but foundations can be fixed if you really loved the house. For example, if the foundation was sinking, you could've had it reinforced/stabilized by hydualic underpinning. I'm sure it wouldn't be cheap, but that's something you could've demanded from the seller or reduced the price accordingly.
__________________
Dimsumkid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 10:14 AM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 52
didn't want to bother with paying for the foundation issue as it was stressful enough with some of the other things we wanted to do it. wasn't worth renegotiating i think....as i didn't love the house per se.

hopeful to watch "Holmes Inspection" as i'm learning about a lot of things. am scared about mold/ventilation issues in the attic and other "hidden" costs for some of the older homes. But then again perhaps the homeowners would maintain it better than the house that i walked away from.
__________________
wilkens21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 10:28 AM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
There are often 'hidden' costs in newer homes too.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 10:54 AM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,001
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkens21 View Post
didn't want to bother with paying for the foundation issue as it was stressful enough with some of the other things we wanted to do it. wasn't worth renegotiating i think....as i didn't love the house per se.

hopeful to watch "Holmes Inspection" as i'm learning about a lot of things. am scared about mold/ventilation issues in the attic and other "hidden" costs for some of the older homes. But then again perhaps the homeowners would maintain it better than the house that i walked away from.
The house we bought has mold in the attic. Had a mold inspector look at it, nothing more than everyday mold from inproper ventilation. This allowed me to get a few thousand credit paid by the seller. He suggested cover it with a mold inhibiting paint by Zinsser or sand/vacuum it off. I'm going to use option #2, it'll look odd to future buyers why I painted the inside of the attic ceiling. I already added bigger/more vents, cut the roof top and installed ridge venting to solve the ventilation issue. DW liked the area and house, no one has any reaction to the mold, so this wasn't a deal killer.
__________________
Dimsumkid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 11:02 AM   #13
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkens21 View Post
I think watching Holmes Inspection also scares me when it comes to new constructions.
Been going back and forth, since I really don't want to do major work on a new home. But are the newer homes worth it? Dunno...
What are your thoughts?
It's much easier to find construction defects in an older home, even if it's "just" 10 years old. It's also a lot easier to find neighbors who will tell you what's wrong with the home you're contemplating buying.

There's a long list of construction materials/techniques that seemed like a great idea at the time, but 10 years later were a problem: aluminum electrical wiring, 19980s versions of plastic water piping, cementitious roofing shakes, 1970s aluminum siding, insulation emitting formaldehyde, thin-wall copper piping in concrete foundations, drywall from some Chinese suppliers...

I don't know anyone who bought new construction and would care to repeat the experience.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 11:21 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,399
If you buy a house more than 30 years old there is a high likelihood that the ceiling texture or the drywall joint compound contains asbestos. It might or might be high enough to trigger the threshhold to be considered asbestos containing (equal or greater to 1%). Unless you test during the inspection period you would likely not know. Sellers will almost always answer "no" to questions about asbestos because they don't actually know. Realtors and home inspectors often do know of the high likelihood but don't say anything.

If you never plan to change the house this is probably not a problem. But if you want to do any remodeling that would disturb ceilings and walls then it is a concern.

Also there are new regs on lead paint for older houses and this can make renovation much more expensive.

For this reasons I wouldn't consider a house more than 30 years old.

One advantage of a house that is, say, 5 to 20 years old is that a major foundation problem if one is to developed will likely already have happened.

However, older houses are often much less energy efficient than newer houses.

While I recognize the risks inherent in building we are choosing to build our next home.

The best of both worlds, however, might be to buy a house that is around 5 years old.
__________________
Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 12:14 PM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 52
The houses that were built during the bubble are probably the worst in terms of construction quality since it was just a profit machine where developers put out inferior products and people were falling all over themselves to buy it.

Case in point is that plastic piping that is used for my sink and tub in the apartment that I currently live in (complex is pretty new). That's cheap stuff! That's just the tip of the iceberg...

Am hoping that now with the bubble fully bursting that there will be some sanity in terms of the quality of products since the buyers are more prudent.

I am also worried when people finish their basements since it covers up what could a disaster in the waiting and there aren't easy ways to take a look behind it, although i assume thermal cameras might be able to
__________________
wilkens21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 12:32 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
The asbestos that Katsmeow is talking about is in the 'popcorn' that can be found on some, not all, ceilings in older houses. It isn't really a big deal to remove it but it must be done by someone certified for that activity. It is easy to find out if the ceiling treatment has asbestos by submitting it to a lab. Asbestos is a problem when it becomes airborne, in most cases it is encapsulated by paint and quite safe. It really isn't a major issue.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 01:58 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,386
The longer I live in an older building, the more I like living there but the less I would want to own the building or a unit.

In fact, the longer I look around at RE, and the more I consider what can go wrong, the pickier I get. For example- today a plumber came to my unit, looking for a slow leak that was showing up downstairs in the boiler room. How much luck would I have if I owned a 2nd floor condo unit and there was a slow leak coming from somewhere, presumably above me, but in fact perhaps several door over, etc, etc? Would I be able to get that owner to hire a quality plumber, and spend money that may in fact not be her resposibility when all is known? Could I even find her?

I may look at some of the townhomes built prior to when the bubble began here- say around 2004. My main concern with these is that many of them look like shite, and you would have to be a goat to really like going up and down 3 to 4 floors all the time. These places are vertical! I have no issues now, but I am no kid and I would hate to come home from surgery some day and have no place to go.

I could only afford a SFH that is old, and as a guy who lived in and maintained an old sfh for many years, no way Josť! Again, most of what I could find in this category would turn my stomach to look at.

My friend lives in a typical Seatle bungalow, and he claims to enjoy keeping the thing up, but it is barely kept up, and he is always looking for excuses to do something else. Plus, they cost a fortune to heat, even with today's cheap natural gas. Luckily for him, his wife is a maniac for cleaning and generally keepoing things ship-shape.

Given my tastes, the only downside to continued renting for me is being long term short rent. Most of my neighbors are people I would be proud to have as friends. And the resident manager is very picky, and seems to enjoy having this part-time job, so I think this resident quality is likely to continue.

To return to the OP, no way would I spend $800,000 for an old junk heap. Rent the damn thing!

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 06:58 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
The asbestos that Katsmeow is talking about is in the 'popcorn' that can be found on some, not all, ceilings in older houses. It isn't really a big deal to remove it but it must be done by someone certified for that activity. It is easy to find out if the ceiling treatment has asbestos by submitting it to a lab. Asbestos is a problem when it becomes airborne, in most cases it is encapsulated by paint and quite safe. It really isn't a major issue.

I agree with this to a point. I am partly talking about asbestos on ceilings. However, there is also often asbestos in drywall joint compound. Again, I agree it is safe so long as you aren't doing major remodeling.

I also agree that removing asbestos from the ceiling is not particularly difficult but has to be done by someone certified to do it. (Removing the drywall is a much harder job of course).

And if you aren't going to ever sell your house then that is fine. But bear in mind that if you do decide to do some remodeling and have that popcorn ceiling removed, you may have difficulties if you later sell your. We were just recently filling out a disclosure for the house we are selling (it is new enough that we aren't worried about asbestos) but it not only asked if you are aware of any asbestos in the house it also asks if you have ever had any asbestos remediation done.

So even if you have the ceiling remediated or replace the drywall it may create resale problems.
__________________
Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2011, 07:29 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
It didn't in my daughter's case and the California home sale disclosure requirements are very detailed (she removed ceiling popcorn).

I have never heard of asbestos in drywall mud. I would be much more worried about contaminated drywall manufactured in China which can be found in recent construction.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2011, 01:16 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
It didn't in my daughter's case and the California home sale disclosure requirements are very detailed (she removed ceiling popcorn).

I have never heard of asbestos in drywall mud. I would be much more worried about contaminated drywall manufactured in China which can be found in recent construction.
It is simply a concern that is a very real one that someone buying an older home should consider.

__________________

__________________
Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The "big 4" bank stocks, anyone buying? ESRwannabe Stock Picking and Market Strategy 31 08-30-2010 11:47 PM
Seek Advice re "2nd Home" to "Rental House" Transition Bonden FIRE and Money 3 05-18-2010 10:32 AM
Would this be a good idea if I'm "looking" at possibly, maybe, buying an iPhone? spncity Other topics 16 05-18-2010 05:47 AM
Is Buying on Panic "Market Timing"? Culture FIRE and Money 9 10-13-2008 09:44 PM
Buying a larger home: "just enough" or "all the way" Lusitan Young Dreamers 36 03-20-2008 08:00 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:54 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.