Buying a House - New or Old?

When buying a house, we all face the big question; do I want an old house or one which is brand new? In this tongue-in-cheek comparison we highlight the key issues.

In favour of buying a new house, you will have someone else to blame for the cracks. There will be room to park your three cars and the caravan. Your family of four can enjoy the four toilets and three bathrooms; there will be no queues in the morning. All paintwork will be in a tasteful shade of magnolia and when you need to redecorate, you will be able to reach to paint the ceilings without a ladder. A new house comes with its own entertainment; you will be able to hear your neighbours' rows/children/night-time activities as the walls will be quite thin. And the bijou garden will be just fine for barbeques, without needing much maintenance. But that sums it up; a new house is just that - a house. Just like a car or TV, it is shiny when new but inevitably seems out of date and shabby before long.

On the other hand, an old house is already a home, imbued with the history of its community and the people who have lived there. An old house is like an antique table, with a patina, scratches and rich colours. Yes, it needs care and attention, but the quality of the materials used will ensure that future generations can enjoy it too. Living in an old house teaches you to be tolerant of life, with all its cracks, bumps and character. On the practical side, an old house may have large, spacious rooms, a garden large enough to have room for the childrens' games and for shrubs and flowers. There will be original features adding texture and visual interest. A real coal-burning fireplace will bring your family together on cold winter evenings. There will be draughts, but they bring in fresh air and manage humidity, and take away the fumes from modern carpets and furniture. Owning an old house is a learning experience too; it will become part of your life as you understand how best to care for it.

For a period house owner, a new house can seem tempting but the reality will be a disappointment; there will be no long-term satisfaction.