New Construction vs. Pre-Owned Apartments
Bohemia Blog by Agent Raymond Werdane
The age old debate, Old vs. New, when it comes to buying your home is something that you will have to deal with when buying in New York. There are obviously drawbacks and benefits of both, but sometimes it is a matter of what you are looking for that helps make the decision easier.
Let's face it, when it comes to buying anything - a car or piece of furniture - you normally lean toward the brand new item. But when it comes to homes or apartments, that is not always the case. Then you factor in that buying an apartment is a decision that is a lot more overwhelming than your next lounge chair, the process can seem too much at times. But working with the right agent and agency can turn this process into something enjoyable and provide your with a wide knowledge of all types of properties - from pre-war apartments for sale to new developments or condos that are on the market.
Here are some points you should consider when it comes to choosing between the New vs. the Old. Now, as I mentioned above, most of us prefer a New Development over Pre-War, but don't forget that older apartments have some charms and advantages that should be considered. And it can't go without being said, preferring a new home is one thing, being willing to pay for it, is another.
Let's compare the two sides and let you make the best decision for yourself.
One of the main factors you should always consider when buying a home is lowering your energy bills. Home designers and engineers have designed building materials to maximize the energy efficiency of an apartment or free standing home, optimizing heating and cooling systems, windows, appliances, as well as insulation materials. Usually you find all these specifications in a New Development.
In addition, newer buildings have started to account for the noise of New York, including traffic, ambulances and the mild hum of city life with sound proofing materials and insulation used on windows and walls. New constructions also has new pipes, new wiring to accommodate for smart technology, sound systems, alarms for safety, ducted vacuum cleaning and recessed lighting to name a few perks.
New construction layouts are suited for modern living, including an open-concept kitchen to living room that is connected with an island in some instances. Add to all these advantages, new constructions will most likely not need any repairs right off the bat, so your immediate investment does not carry with it costs right after you move in to make it a livable habitat - whether that is aesthetic or actual repairs. Finally, when buying new apartments, taxes are usually lower and you might also catch a break with a tax abatement that sometimes applies with new constructions.
But, after mentioning all these great advantages of buying brand new home, I have to also bring to light the benefits that come with buying an already standing or pre-war beauty.
There is always the joy of renovating it yourself, making the homestead that much more special when it involved your own sweat and elbow grease in the transformation. There is also the fact that you are making all the decisions in regards to design, including changing the wall and cabinet colors, finishes, trim, windows, tiling and back splash. You can also save by doing it yourself, which only continues to add value to the apartment as well as strengthen the equity you have in your property with every DIY project.
Another reason why people prefer old apartments is because of the traditional features and the charm and history that exists with a traditional neighbourhood like Washington Heights and Harlem.
A lot of buyers prefer the pre-war apartments because of their unique touch and feel, including high ceilings, larger entry ways, a true dining room, solid core doors and intricate decorative moldings that are not found in the modern architecture and construction.
Then you have to consider the financial savings in choosing an older property. Usually pre-owned apartments are more affordable and maintenance fees are cheaper in most cases, especially if the building has less amenities.
So, whether you are leaning toward the old or new, there is one thing that I can agree on to advise you to do, which is to buy and not rent - obviously if you are in the position to own. New York is one of the strongest housing markets in the world, with some neighborhoods doubling in value within the first 5-8 years after purchase. Then, looking at rental prices in the city, in most cases you are going to save money buy buying over renting, and have a solid asset in the process.
I will leave you with this final rule that should help drive the point home.
“Renting is forever. Mortgages have an end”