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My wife and I are moving this spring. She likes the charm of older homes, but I tend to like new construction homes. We’ve talked a lot about the pros and cons of each but when it comes down to it, we’ve decided that value is the “make it or break it” for us. From a value perspective is an older home as good as a new home?

Thank you!

Betty & Steve, Grand Junction

Betty & Steve,

Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and very subjective to “what” value means to you. What you value, another may not, and thus the reason true value is a very individual determination and really must be done on a case by case basis. Keep in mind that “value” to some people is measured in happiness, peace, comfort, or a myriad of other things and may only be minimally impacted by monetary considerations! For others, monetary value is the “bottom line”. How much will the value go up on one house vs. the other? For the purposes of this article we will simply look at the monetary perspective, as that is typically the main goal when people are seeking information about “value”.

I would say, in my experience, appreciation will be greater on newer homes than it will on ones that are older. This is of course a broad generalization and not an “absolute truth”. For example, if you have two homes in the same neighborhood and one is 4 years old and one is 15 years old, the newer home will gain value at a comparatively accelerated pace. This does not mean that the older home is not a good home, it simply means that the newer home is most likely more in tune with current buyer wants, finishes, and floor plans because it is only 4 years old. The house that is 4 years old most likely has oil rubbed bronze or brushed nickel finishes and the older one may have polished brass fixtures…it is simply not as up-to-date and thus will not gain value at the same pace. On the flip side, while we are on the topic of value, your best value in the long run can also be the older home!

If you can purchase the home that is 15 years old for a good price, change out some of the dated features and finishes and bring it up to a more current look and appeal then your best “value” may be the older home that just needs some cosmetic updating. Let’s add one more twist, the older home has an incredible view and the newer one does not. Which one will do better given that change in scenario? I would say, all things being equal and age being the only major difference, the home with the view will outperform the newer home! Homes with unique features or benefits tend to have exaggerated value gains. As you can see, there are so many things that go into measuring value that it gets very difficult to determine which houses will perform best over time from an appreciation perspective.

You have to evaluate each one on a case by case basis and by using all the factors involved to make the best decision possible at that point in time. Go with the one you love and the one that you will most enjoy living in and don’t focus only on monetary value, but lifestyle, peace and happiness value! Focus on your house being your home and don’t worry about what you can’t control, like the future of the real estate market! Live happier, live longer! Now that’s what I would call “real” value. Hope this helped a little! Best of luck.

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team


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