To build or restore?
Building has a whole lot of costs involved. So does restoration. Which is more cost-conscious? More environmentally sound? I’m not sure yet. There are pros and cons to both options.
For and against building: I would get exactly what I want, in a very workable floor plan. However, I would also have the headaches of zoning and planning, more fees and permits, and the risks of higher assessments based on the age of the house.
For and against restoring: The house is old. How long will it be a viable structure? (As long as it’s taken care of, it could be around for centuries. If not, it could be gone in a matter of just a few years.) But I could move in immediately, and interestingly enough the house might be more environmentally sound, not only because I would be “recycling” most materials in the home, but also because homes built before 1940 were built to stay somewhat cooler in the summer without air conditioning. Of course, in the winter, homes were colder. New insulation would help take care of that issue. Also, planning offices now often require larger square footages. However, pre-existing homes can be any size. If, for instance, I buy the home I’m considering, I could close off the attic (once used as a bedroom) and make the back deck back into a deck, reducing the house to approximately 550 square feet. The city would see that as “restoring the house to it’s original condition” and be just fine with it. But if I tried to build a new house of the same size, they’d argue.
Another interesting thing is that if I buy, anything I do inside the house is considered my business. Cities here won’t come and inspect plumbing and electrical changes. However, if I build, everything has to be up to code. If I want to add solar or a composting toilet, an older home might be the better choice.
What have you found in either buying or building?