Jennifer Ross -
AND THE WINNER OF THIS MONTH'S DRAWING
Rae has won the TomTom portable GPS -
The next drawing will be
in a few
There is growing
evidence that first-time home buyers are taking
advantage of the $8,000 tax credit that is due to
expire at the end of April. The Mortgage Bankers
Association reported last week that purchase loan
applications rose in the past week by 6.8 percent,
hitting the highest level since October of last
year. Spring, of course, is one of the busiest
times of the year in the real estate market as
about two-thirds of the country emerges from
The new California $10k
First-Time Homebuyer's Tax Credit is expected to
boost sales as
Should You Buy a Newer or
It used to be that new homes cost
more than older homes, but that's not true across
the board anymore. As land costs increase, the
size of new home lots have shrunk. Especially in
California. One can practically crawl a bedroom
window and into the window of the home next door.
Homes are that close in proximity.
reason today's construction is cheaper is because
it's less expensive to use 2 x 4 pine framing or
engineered wood over 2 x 6 redwood and to use
drywall instead of plaster. Buyers who look at
inner-city homes in desirable neighborhoods will
find, on average, larger lot sizes, and the homes
will cost more than entry-level new homes being
developed in new subdivisions outside the city.
Here are advantages and disadvantages to
consider when trying to determine whether you
should buy a newer home or an older home.
Buying an Older
construction -Older homes have stood for
decades, some centuries, and weathered many
storms. Some were built by hand by genuine
craftsman, with meticulous attention to detail.
Larger yard - Years ago, when
land was cheaper, builders built on larger lot
sizes, leaving room to accommodate garages on
More character -
Craftsman bungalows originated in California in
the 1890s, but now they're ubiquitous across the
U.S. Other popular styles are Victorians, Greek
Revivals, Tudors or Colonials. Interesting
architectural features are abundant in these homes
such as arches, hand-carved decorative
appointments, stained-glass windows.
Longer-term neighbors - Some
older homes are passed down through generations.
Many neighbors know each other.
Established neighborhood -
Zoning changes are unlikely to occur in older
areas. Hooters restaurants don't fare well in
Mature trees and
vegetation - It's not uncommon to see
100-year trees providing canopies in yards and
Closer to downtown
entertainment and restaurants - Not only
do older areas tend to be located closer to
downtown areas, but often residents can walk to
local coffeehouses and antique stores.
Buying an Older Home
maintenance - If it were a "perfect"
house, everything would fall apart at the same
time. But things tend to go wrong periodically,
and there's always something to fix. Chimneys and
stone foundations require tuckpointing. Floors may
Expensive to replace wiring and
plumbing - If a home was built before
sewer systems, the cesspool might overflow into a
sewer. Tree roots break up sewer pipes. Galvanized
pipes are rust-prone. Sensitive electronics
require grounded wiring, and Romex can't be mixed
with knob and tube.
storage space, garages - Before today's
concept of "bigger is better," people had less
clothing, fewer personal items to store and one
Might require updates -
Apart from HVAC systems -- I don't know how those
in hot climates get by without central air --
trendy updates involve pricey kitchen and bath
expensive - Classic and vintage homes
generally cost more because of the location,
meaning closer to conveniences such as schools,
mass transit, shopping and urban amenities.
Smaller square footage on
average - With the exception of estates,
many older homes are smaller in size, even though
family sizes were larger when they were built.
Buying a Newer Home
maintenance -New construction is meant to
last for a while, so new home owners are not
likely to install a new roof or replace the water
Modern conveniences -
Many items are standard such as built-in
dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves and wine
coolers; they feature master suite baths, work-out
and media rooms; wiring systems are networked.
Builder's warranty - In
California, builders are required to give buyers a
10-year warranty. The first line of defense is to
buy from a reputable builder who will agree to
stand behind the structure and its components.
Energy efficient - Many homes
are built with solar panels that can turn back the
electric meter. New appliances use less energy.
Walls, ceilings and floors are insulated. Dual
pane windows retain more heat in winter and keep
the home cooler in summer.
code - Code regulations change all the
time. Consumer safety issues are continually
addressed in new construction and conform to
Emotional factor of
newness - Let's face it, there's nothing
like owning something that's brand new, never been
used, whether it's a car or a home.
Less expensive - If the new
home is not custom, it's likely to cost much less
per square foot than an older home in the city.
Greater square footage, on
average - It's typical to see two
bedroom homes with 1,000 square feet sell for the
same as a two-story, 2,500 square foot home in the
suburbs. When builders can't build out, they build
Buying a Newer Home
Tract homes have
similar floor plans - Some say tract
homes are identical to each other; they have no
individuality. Others prefer conforming areas. So
what if your neighbor's house look just like
yours, at least you know where the light switches
vegetation - It can take years for trees
to grow. In the Natomas suburb of Sacramento, for
example, many home owners can't afford to
landscape the back yard. The front of these
Mediterranean homes look magnificent, but look out
an upstairs' window and everybody's lawn is dirt.
House settling - New houses
settle. It happens everywhere, regardless of the
type of soil. Settling causes cracks in
foundations, walls and door frames.
Longer commuting distances to
downtown - If you want to be where the
action is in a metropolitan downtown area or avoid
the drive to work in rush-hour city traffic, the
distance from downtown might make a difference to
GORGEOUS hilltop home with
panoramic mountain and golfcourse views! Current
owner has lovingly maintained with recent new
plumbing throughout, finished garage, professional
hardscape in backyard, new carpet, paint and
fixtures. Vaulted ceilings, white wood
Spacious top floor unit with
upgraded granite kitchen, wood shutters and tile
and wood-like floors throughout! Gorgeous
views of downtown from balcony! Older,
classic looking building and very well
maintained! One of the few complexes in the area
with a pool. Walk to Balboa Park, restaurants and
Owners have lovingly
maintained this home and the upgrades are
absolutely gorgeous! The interior boasts leaded
glass windows, travertine floors in versailles
pattern, designer paint, oak built-ins, granite
kitchen counters...the list goes on! Owner
states $100K pool with rock wall and waterfall + 6
person hot tub! Situated at the end of a
cul-de-sac in the community of Eastlake
Trails-shopping and restaurants
Spacious living areas (larger
than others)This beauty boasts large living room
AND family room with westerly sunset views! Dining
room + eat-in kitchen. Quiet street,
elevated lot with mountian and area
views. Interior laundry room and attached
one car garage.
"Gratitude is a duty which
ought to be paid, but which none have a right to
Jean Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778,
Kids Are Smart!
older you get, the harder your parents try to keep
Emily, Age 15
I can remember what flavor of ice
cream cone my grandmother bought me at Disneyland;
most of the time, I can't remember what day it is.
I guess it depends on what you think is
Elizabeth, Age 12
If mom says "no", she means it.
If dad says "no", it means maybe.
You should never ask your
three-year-old brother to hold a
|As always, feel free to give me
a call 800-913-7677 with your real estate
needs. I appreciate your referrals.
Over 21 years in
Serving all of San Diego
30 yr fixed: 5.23%
15 yr fixed: 4.53%
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