Older Homes versus Newer Construction

In the Northeast Atlanta housing market, where many of our clients work at Emory or the CDC, a classic buying dilemma must be addressed. Do I buy a home with “good bones” built in the 1960s and 1970s when much of the housing stock was first constructed?  Or, do I buy more recent construction? Exacerbating the dilemma is the quality of lesser quality of  current manufactured HVAC equipment, plumbing materials , and appliances.

Point in case, we are working with a couple considering homes in Tucker priced in the $500,000 to $600,000 prince range.  One of the homes was built in 1979 on a large wooded lot and is quite spacious.  The second house was built in the 1990s

The older home needs a lot of updating. The interior needs new paint and new carpets.  Most of the light fixtures need to be updated.  In addition the windows are single pane and are not energy efficient.  BUT, the home has a tone of space, large spacious rooms and a full basement that has been waterproofed and is ready for the new owner to finish.  The HVAC systems have been recently replaced and the roof is in decent shape.  The interior plumbing is copper pipe and will last indefinitely.  The appliances all need to be replaced even though they are in working condition. Outside the landscaping is definitely showing its age. The brick exterior does not need any maintenance – although you might update the look by painting the brick.  There is a lot of potential with this home but the next owner is going to be spending some cash AFTER CLOSING to update this home.

The newer home has a lot of whistles and bells.  The kitchen has a double oven, gas cooktop, kitchen island with granite countertops.  There are volume ceilings and lots of light in the floorplan.  The landscape is just starting to come into its own and looks great.  But the home is on a smaller “cluster” lot, the major systems (HVAC and roof) are are the end of life expectancy and will need replacing in the near future. The exterior is likely synthetic stucco (Dryvit) that has been remediated` to prevent moisture damage and termite infiltration.

So what say you?  Would you select the older home that doesn’t look as nice and will need a lot of HGTV style makeover?  Or would you select the newer home and expect to replace the major systems in the near future?