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Archive for June, 2010

Confessions of an Old Home Junkie and What Cured Me

imgres Confessions of an Old Home Junkie and What Cured Me

As Published in The Seattle Times/ New Homes Saturday

by Al Doyle

I woke up one morning realizing I was an old home junkie. You know the type. We feel the irresistible pull as we  drive through the neighborhoods around Puget Sound.  Old homes seem to jump out and call our name, offering up the plea: “fix me, save me”! It’s all very seductive and I fell for them all. The bungalows, cottages, Craftsman, Victorian. Tudor and even one very appealing mid-Century modern (or Brick Ick a my friends named it). Over the years I’ve bought and sold a few, so I know what it feels like, both the good and the bad.  Old homes had me hooked.  I loved the idea of preserving history.  I adored the ornate trim and the solid woods. I bought the books, the magazines and wore my leather tool belt with great flair. Then recently I realized that old homes had become a very expensive habit and one of the biggest costs was to my lifestyle and comfort. No matter what I did to an old house, or how much money I poured into it, the results were still and old home. I would end up with a home that never had enough bathrooms and never had a master site. It usually had rooms I seldom used and never had rooms I really needed.  And then there’s the money thing.  Last time I went home shopping I noticed used homes cost as much as new one.  What’s up with that?  Don’t used cars cost less than new cars and doesn’t used furniture ends up in thrift stores?  Why on earth was I willing to pay as much for something old, creaky and needed a huge infusion of time and money when for the same price I could get exactly what I want in a new home?  That thought changed me.  Now I’m in the market for a home again  and I’ve started looking at new homes.  Here’s what I’m finding in my last few weeks of searching.  New homes are now designed with the kind of architectural charm we all love. Long gone are the days of the 70s and 80s and those dull split-level boxes.  Now I can choose from a wide array of styles from highly traditional to excitingly modern. I also found that new homes have far better floor plans. Architecture has come a long way and today’s homes are designed for today’s lifestyles. I’ve found home offices, media rooms, flex spaces, master suites-to-die-for and every home I’ve looked at has enough bathrooms (that’s a big deal if you’ve lived in old homes all your adult life!).  Then there is the lower maintenance costs.  Since everything is new and made with advanced materials, you can expect to go years without major repairs or upgrades.  New homes also cost far less to operate, with better insulation, more efficient heating and cooling systems and appliances and water-saving fixtures. I think I’m almost over my old-house habit.  It feels good.  I still may watch reruns of Bob Villa from time-to-time…just for old time sake.  Get our there this weekend and see what you can find.  Buy new, it’s the best investment you can make.