Recently we purchased a new home. I say new, but really, the house is almost 80 years old! And you know what? I love every inch of it (creaky floors and all). I have always adored the charm of older homes. I spent a good deal of time living in Newport, RI where the oldest home I’d lived in was built in 1710. That’s before the Revolutionary War! Before we became the United States of America! This old house had floors that were slanted and the windows barely opened, but talk about charm and history. I often wished the walls could talk.
Now, I’m a military spouse, so I have lived in many, many homes over the years, and while most of them have been of the older variety, we went a different route when we moved to Maryland ten years ago. We had a house built for us. At that time, I was extremely excited about the idea because I had a baby on the way. I wanted my baby to be in a fresh and clean environment. And it sure was. I still vividly remember the smell of the home, the feel of the carpeting, the ease with which everything worked. It was really nice. But ultimately for me, it always felt like it was lacking something. The house was in a new development, so the trees were newly planted and there wasn’t much greenery. As well, there were only a few different models of homes, so it felt very cookie-cutter-ish. Walking into a neighbor’s house was like walking into mine. What it came down to was that it lacked the charm that I have always loved in older neighborhoods with older homes.
Now I must admit that my current (and final!) 80-year-old house has been updated quite a bit since it was first built. I have the original blueprints and it is remarkable to see what the previous owners did with the place over time. I do enjoy the heated floors, steam shower, and back deck. But despite the updating and add-ons, the house has retained its charm and elegance that comes with a home that was built in a time when having electricity was a relatively new thing. (We still have some knob and tube wiring!)
So where do you stand? Do you love an older home (quirks and all) or do you prefer to be the very first owner? Trulia recently had a poll done to find out people’s preferences. Check out the findings. (You can click on the graphs to enlarge them.)
And this third graph shows the reasons why people choose existing homes over new ones. Some of the reasons are that existing homes cost less, have traditional features and are in established neighborhoods.
So, were your reasons for preferring a new or existing home similar to those of the poll participants? Mine sure were. I love my old home, flaws and all. For me it’s the enduring charm and lived-in feel that I so greatly adore. In the end though, new or old, a house shouldn’t feel like just a house, it should feel like and be your home.