There’s a lot to say about building your dream home from the ground up. You get to pick the finishes, the home will have never been lived in, and you can ultimately make it your own without the heavy lifting of suffering through an extensive renovation. 

This all may be true of new construction, but let’s take a moment to consider older homes. Sure, I’m biased – my wife and I purchased an old 1960’s colonial in an old, established neighborhood near the heart of Raleigh. While we love the location, the home has posed some challenges in our first year that many buyers would otherwise shy away from. Nevertheless, we went for it knowing the there was true value built-in to the nostalgia of an older home. 

The reason we went this route wasn’t all about satisfying our inner house-flipper. Sure, we enjoy rolling up our sleeves every now and again, but the main reason for our purchase was the bigger picture. When we started our home search, we decided on three big things:

1. Location: We wanted to be closer to the city center and our friends. The location we selected puts us minutes from more than just shopping and restaurants. We’re close to our church, a reputable hospital, and some of the city’s most incredible attractions. We can be anywhere in 10 minutes, and walking is an option if we can ever muster the motivation.

2. Landscaping: The beauty of new construction is the ‘clean slate’ idea, however in older homes the landscaping is often mature…sometimes too mature…but mature nonetheless. We love the idea of looking out our window in the morning and seeing tall trees and luscious shrubbery. Did we have to do work on the landscaping when we moved in? You bet. But are we thankful that our view isn’t our neighbor’s living room? Absolutely. Not to mention, the lot size is incredible. New homes give you a little slice of heaven, whereas with old homes you’re likely to get a lot more than just a building and a plot of land. All the more reason to buy old. 

3. The History: We are by no means the first humans to live inside this house, which to us is a fascinating plus as buyers. Every home has a story, and as buyers of an older home we have the unique opportunity to create our own chapter in that home’s history. Now, I know history doesn’t always appeal to the modern buyer, but there’s something to be said about living in a space that others have enjoyed for many years prior. Another thing worth mentioning, if the house has been there that long, it’s likely built to stand the true test of time

The other reasons we purchased an older home were more for intrinsic value. We enjoy being apart of an established community with a colorful history, community swim club, and stories from the locals about who lived here and there, way back when. We like the brisk fall walks through the tall oak trees, and we enjoy the camaraderie of neighbors meeting together to improve the quality of our community when times get tough. Sure, you can find all those qualities in new communities, too – there’s just something to be said about the feel of a community that has been here forever.   

All in all, buying an old home has its drawbacks, but it also has many positives that buyers today can easily overlook with all the new construction we have going on in this area. Everyone has their preference, but when it comes to mine – give me the creaky floors and charm of yesteryear! 

Are you an old house enthusiast like me? Check out these awesome Raleigh listings! 

Old Raleigh Homes Under $500K


This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.