Home Ownership: Smething Old or Something New?

by Vanessa Loy (BPRW)

Home Ownership
Preparing to own your own home? You join the ranks of the 48% of African Americans who own their own homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since African American homeowners often live in or near large, urban areas, you are likely to face the decision between a new model and an older "fixer-upper." While the saying "if it's not broke, don't fix it" is wise in most areas of life, buying a home brings a different twist on that idea. Experienced home owners might say that if it's not broke, it's a good candidate for improvement.

Some people believe that new equals better. New homes are built with better energy efficiency, structural stability and overall safety in mind than those of previous generations. Brand new homes will have brand new electrical systems, floors, plaster, plumbing and appliances all ready for moving in, with no need for refurbishment. Today’s homes offer more space and more convenience. That means larger closets, garages and bedrooms, built-in dishwashers and modular kitchen systems. New homes can even be designed for those with disabilities or other limitations. There is also the benefit of a builder’s warranty in case defects are found.

On the other hand, new homes are typically more expensive, and many homebuyers find them to be too cookie-cutter conformist. They prefer the distinctive features and architecture of earlier times, and older homes seldom look identical to neighboring units. Old-school architectural characteristics such as parlor rooms, decorative molding, arches and carvings are often nonexistent or expensive to install in newer homes. An older home with demonstrated durability may be quite affordable if it needs only superficial refurbishing.

The decision between old and new should factor in your personal tastes, family size, budget, desired location, long-term lifestyle plans and the advice of a competent realtor. Whether you call it “old” or “new” is less important than the fact that you can call it “home.”
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