New construction vs older homes: the potential of vintage buildings

Do you prefer the turnkey condition of a brand-new development or the idiosyncratic charms of an older property? There are benefits to both in the new construction vs older homes debate, but from a strictly investment-concerned perspective, established real estate has a lot to offer.

Hamburg - Old homes offer benefits for investors. Read our tips to find the finest real estate.

Enviable locations

New developments may suffer from being located in areas with ongoing construction, or from needing to be built wherever land is available – which could mean they're far from city centres or community hubs. In contrast, mature properties may benefit from being located in a leafy historic suburb or central urban location, with a value-adding walkability score. The property’s appraisal value will be higher if it’s in a desirable location near good schools, parks and transport links, making it a stronger asset for your portfolio.​

Period features

There’s one area in the new construction vs older homes discussion where older properties will always prevail: period features. While some prefer the blank canvas that a new build provides, others are drawn to unique elements such as grand timber staircases and stained glass windows. Vintage detailing, including crown moulding, intricate ceiling roses and exposed stonework, is an attractive prospect for those in search of a character property. 

Kerb appeal

It’s not just the interior details that set an older property apart. Time-tested buildings often come with mature landscaping, which can add upwards of 12% in value to the home. A carefully cultivated garden design, with mature trees and a diversity of plant life, signals to buyers that this home has been looked after over the years. This bodes well for the interior too. If you choose to buy an older home with an established garden, taking good care of it will ensure it continues to flourish, adding further value to your property as and when it comes time to sell.

The bottom line of new construction vs older homes: maximising your investment

When examining the new construction vs older homes conundrum, there are a few legitimate issues that warrant inspection. Lead paint may be present in pre-1970s properties, along with structural issues as foundations shift over the decades. Heating systems may need replacing, and windows could require an upgrade from the single-pane standards of years past to today’s double-pane and triple-glazed models.

Our property insights can help give an idea of what to look for. But to get you started, you’ll need to request a full inspection by qualified professionals, and you may need to carry out suggested repairs and maintenance to bring the home in line with current regulations.

Of course, potential pitfalls such as those mentioned above can be minimised with a preliminary home inspection as well as careful market research. A prime benefit of investing in an older property is that you’ll have access to more information, including accurate data over a lengthier period pertaining to established neighbourhood demographics, historic trends and price points. The ideal growth-minded investment property will be an old building in need of cosmetic repairs, so long as it’s positioned in a historic, desirable neighbourhood in consistent demand.

An established home may require some attention at the outset, but it could yield immediate capital growth with basic modernisation – something you won’t achieve with a newly built property.

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