27 Sept 2022

Ask Jackie: Your guide to all things property

Ask Jackie: What does a first-time buyer need to know about buying a house at auction?

Ask Jackie: What does a first-time buyer need to know about buying a house at auction?

My wife and I are looking to move from Dublin to a quieter rural location. Is it better to build a new home or buy an old doer-upper?


Depending on your budget, an older home might be a better option as building costs in the last few months have gone up dramatically. There are many things to consider when looking to buy a doer-upper.

The advantages of doer-upper may well outstrip the costs of building new, but there are things to remember.

Older homes are made of older materials, so it follows that the ageing construction in these homes would come with a need for frequent maintenance. From faulty plumbing to sloping floors, there's no shortage of projects to do in existing homes – and these projects don't come cheap.

Smart home buyers can capitalise on the lower upfront costs of these homes to supplement future maintenance costs. With less money needed for a down payment, staggering savings can help you to cover many of these costs down the road.

Energy efficiency has become increasingly important over the years, so in most cases, the newer the home, the easier it is on the environment. New homes better retain heat in the winter and air in the summer due to their thicker, dual-pane windows and insulated walls, ceilings and floors. This is one of the first things to consider doing when you look at a doer-upper.

Deciding which home is right for you is a long process of give and take. Homebuyers must have a clear understanding of what they want and need out of a home – and the age of the property is just one variable to consider.

For homeowners who put heavy stock in individuality – and are willing to put forth the necessary time, energy and money to maintain and protect that uniqueness – older homes may be a great fit. With the right care, these old houses can age gracefully and remind their owners of a simpler time. But if modern convenience is your top priority, you may be better suited for a newer home.

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