Why So Many Building New Homes?

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by savatage1973, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    5,270
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    I know--seemingly dumb question, but in many threads/posts there is reference to building new homes or having recently built a new home.

    I realize (being in the construction industry), that there is the issue of housing demand in a given geographic area--that makes sense. But in so many areas, there are abandoned old homes (not all located in "blighted" areas) that are just literally rotting away.

    It seems that the bulk of the membership here is into restoring and curating audio gear (and other stuff like autos, furniture, guns, watches/jewelry, etc.). Why no love for these (potentially) beautiful and well-constructed homes--many of them bordering on "mansion" status?

    Being in "the business", I can state (with confidence) that unless spec'd down to every detail by the future homeowner, new construction is garbage, and "custom" builds get very expensive, very quickly.

    Just curious...
     

     

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  2. jeanmarie

    jeanmarie AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Not me, I live in a 105 year old victorian home. BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!! No interest in new construction. This house is built with old growth full dimension white oak, no pine here!
     
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  3. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

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    35,507
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    In my specific area, the old, nice, available homes are not in good areas. The empty homes in places you'd want to live are generally nothing special, stuff built from the 60s onward and in various conditions that could be quite expensive to repair into a fairly unremarkable home thats probably too close to the neighbors anyway.
     
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  4. HTHMAN

    HTHMAN Super Member

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    3,386
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    St Louis, Missouri, USA
    Without a doubt, you can get more for your money buying an existing home. In my 40+ years of home ownership, I have had 5 new houses. I just built and moved into my existing one in the last year. Builders do use the lowest cost products in their houses and charge a premium to upgrade. I put in a lot of standard equipment and after we closed, I spent a couple months changing things out before we moved in, spending about 30 thousand dollars additional to get what I wanted rather than what was offered. For me, it was downsizing. But, I wanted to downsize without downgrading. If you ever do it, you will find that that is not easy. I did a fair amount of upgrading and remodeling on my previous homes. I do not know that I ever truly recovered the cost, but I enjoyed the houses and someone got a nice house at a good price when I sold them.
     
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  5. PabloX

    PabloX AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Massachusetts
    I built a house back in 2012. I ended up doing a fair bit of the GC work as well as some of the sub work.

    We ended up building new for a few reasons. One is that in my area, house lots are very difficult to find so we bought a lot with an existing house, in an existing neighborhood, for what the land itself would go for. The existing house was built in the mid 60s and was well built. It was one of the last that actually had real plaster over lathe, subfloors and sheathing that were actual planks (not plywood) etc. Unfortunately, it also hadn't been lived in for at least 5 years and prior to that, probably hadn't been maintained for 15 years. It was infested with mold, carpenter ants, animals, etc. It probably could have been saved but the net difference in cost wasn't much vs. building new (which was done on the existing foundation).

    Realizing the house we built was custom, I debate the assertion that new houses aren't built as well. A lot of the new building materials will last longer, require less maintenance and be much more energy efficient. By that I mean materials like Azek trim, Hardiplank siding and various types of engineered lumber (LVLs, Advantech subfloor). Windows have gotten a lot better also. That said, my other house experience is with ones built in the 70s through late 90s and that was a pretty bad period for home construction.

    Also, I live in New England. I travel to Colorado fairly often and I've looked at new houses out there (including ones under construction). The building techniques are quite a bit different than what I'm used to.

    I like older things, like vintage audio and cars, when I don't need to rely on them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  6. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

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    Location:
    VA near DC
    Real estate is at a premium here in the city of Fairfax. In 2000, we bought a 1950s built home on 1/4 acre, and have done some fix-up stuff, had a new roof installed, etc. We also installed energy efficient windows . Afterwards we replaced the major appliances (as money allowed), and when there was an energy plan under the previous president, we had a modern furnace/AC system installed.
    Value has more than doubled since we bought - but - a lot of folks want more land or larger homes (ours is 3br, 2 & 1/2 bath and just 1800 sq ft).
    I'd like a garage and more room, - but not by a lot, and we don't want a new home or expand the existing mortgage.


     
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  7. DeeCee

    DeeCee Super Member

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    We did pretty much the same thing; I believe this depends on the area you move into. A lot of the areas (where it’s relatively safe) new building is the only choice; older homes are either badly constructed or don’t have modern features that save you in the long run (e-star, high efficiency appliances, etc.)

    Once upon a time we did rent a home built in 1912, outside of certain quirks, it was fine.
     
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  8. stish

    stish AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The desire to go from two story to one story with wider doorways and walk in showers fueled the decision here. The goal is to avoid any need for assisted living as we go forward.
     
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  9. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    5,270
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    Same here--main part of my home is over 130 years old with two large more recent additions, but thanks to me working in the business, they are built to the same basic specs of the original (thanks to the local Amish sawmills), and I have salvaged woodwork, mantles, fixtures, etc. from demo jobs that I have worked on. I even have a couple rooms with hammered tin and copper ceilings.

    This I can understand as well. Hopefully, I'll just drop dead before I can no longer go up and down these steep stairs. A friend of mine and his wife finally retired (both in their 70's) and built a new 2,000 sq/ft single story home--moving out of their 4,000+ sq/ft three story home--Mike told me he hadn't even been to the third floor in several years, and the second story only on occasion, so he wouldn't even miss it.
     
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  10. motorstereo

    motorstereo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Owning an old house is a learning experience that will keep you poor and busy for decades. If I had to do it over I'd opt for for new construction. It's nothing short of amazing what people would try to get away before the advent of building inspectors.
     
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  11. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

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    Location:
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    We just sold our place here in CA and are looking for a new home.

    Biggest problem we have is that all of the newer homes built during the housing boom are 2000+ sq ft, but the insides are inundated with walls and tiny rooms. Our kids are gone, so we just want a 3 bd 2 bath with one large combo kitchen/dining/family/living/breakfast nook without all of the walls. May have to have one built.
     
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  12. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

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    I dunno _ some of the more recent townhouses I rented before we bought were poorly built POSs - you could see the ripples in the roof from inadequate rafter spacing, one had some kind of cheap polybutylene plastic plumbing used for the hot water (was only supposed to be used for COLD) - the seams failed and flooded the homes. (some bean counter figured it would save a LOT when building a whole community of homes with that garbage instead of using better plastic or even copper).
    Drafty homes with minimal wall insulation and crooked windows - Better new home construction is pretty pricey around here ... and thats no guarantee of quality.
     
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  13. motorstereo

    motorstereo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    ^^^^Foundations with no footings, chimneys without liners that defy description, several pieces of framing butt nailed together for a rafter, beavertailed boards with bark still on them used for sheathing, ungrounded outlets, and for crooked.......how about 4'' in 8' because of shoddy workmanship. I'll take a drafty crooked window, randomly placed framing and a leak or 2 anyday:)
    Poor workmanship is poor workmanship but if someone is there to inspect it I believe there's at least an attempt to do things correctly.
     
  14. PabloX

    PabloX AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I've seen quite a number of newly built houses and never seen anything like the issues you list. What state are you in?
     
  15. gizzyman47

    gizzyman47 Super Member

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    1,210
    Location:
    utah
    Me and the wife bought a brick rambler last sept. It was built in 67 and is in great shape. We definately got more house for our money vs. buying new. New housing in UT is expensive unless you settle for something small and right on top of your neighbor. Lots of townhomes being built here too. They can't build new housing fast enough here right now. Lack of houses have really driven up the cost of getting into a home and renting is also expensive here.
     
  16. hemiram

    hemiram Active Member

    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Toledo, ohio
    I have a friend who has built 3 houses in the 32 years I've known him. I don't understand it at all. He's finally in his "last house". He's 68, so I would hope so. He screwed up on this one though, it's a 2 story, and about a year after he moved into it, his wife's hip went bad, and then his knee. The living room became a big bedroom.
     
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  17. motorstereo

    motorstereo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    This is a description of an old house (1912); before building inspectors were around to keep things like that from happening,
     
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  18. HTHMAN

    HTHMAN Super Member

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    3,386
    Location:
    St Louis, Missouri, USA
    We downsized considerably for or last "last" house that we built last year. We built a 1950 sqft ranch, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, open concept with oversize garage and a full basement to hold all the stuff (mostly audio equipment) that does not fit in the new living area. Could not be happier. The rooms are decent size and it is a lot more energy efficient than the last "last" house we built less than 20 years ago.
     
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  19. Sonytubes

    Sonytubes Active Member

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    Location:
    San Francisco Calif.
    Anybody build a new house to accommodate their massive audio collection?
     
  20. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,270
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    Yes--if you do a custom build and spec everything the way you want it, you can get a modern well-built home--but you are going to pay the price for it. The majority of new construction is done by developers in "planned community" format. Actual construction and material selection are subbed out to the lowest bidder.

    Upon retirement, a friend of my father's "rewarded" himself with a new home "McMansion" in a development centered around a country club and golf course. Within 7 years, the whole roof had to be replaced--not just re-shingled, but torn down to the bare trusses, decking and all--some of the trusses even had to be replaced. Windows leaked around the frames, doors gapped or jammed in their frames--all sorts of odds and ends. Looked beautiful the day they moved in, but I sincerely doubt it will last 50 years without major maintenance.
     

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