UT Reader Asks: Will Buyers Pay More For Old Than New?

by UrbanTurf Staff

UT Reader Asks: Will Buyers Pay More For Old Than New?: Figure 1

In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a DC resident looking to put his home on the market inquires if buyers in the city will pay a premium for historic character over open floor plans and upgrades.

I plan on putting my nearly all-original home up for sale eventually, and have a couple questions. In our times of open floor plans and high-end features, is there still a market for original dark wood trim, 5-panel doors, and original but sometimes squeaky parquet floors? And are people willing to pay more for these details? I would love some insight into this question as it will dictate how the home will be marketed and priced. Thanks!

Readers, what do you think? Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/ut_reader_asks_will_buyers_pay_more_for_old_than_new/6076


  1. robert said at 5:25 pm on Wednesday September 26, 2012:
    I think it is totally dependent on buyer tastes. I think your pricing decision should rather be based on the inventory of similar homes for sale in your neighborhood as opposed to old versus new. If there is a low inventory of homes like yours, you probably have the ability to get a little more than you expect.
  1. Josh said at 5:54 pm on Wednesday September 26, 2012:
    Original detail (as long as it's maintained) trumps gutted and poorly flipped houses IMO. The best for me is when a home is updated to modern convenience without erasing the original character.
  1. Andy said at 6:18 pm on Wednesday September 26, 2012:
    My wife and I recently bought a house and were truly disappointed by the lack of homes with well-maintained original details. We ended up buying A Stronghold home with original woodwork, but the developer had still basically ruined everything with half-assed paint jobs with low-quality latex paint that we will now have to painstakingly strip off. We would have paid a premium for a well-maintained home that just needed upgraded amenities.
  1. MRV said at 8:24 pm on Wednesday September 26, 2012:
    I agree with all the earlier comments. We bought a home in Rosedale built in 1909 for under $200k in 2004. If you factor in what's available out there (in DC, specifically) plus lower price, it's the older homes that need a lot of TLC and most definitely not updated. But when we were in the market for a new home on Cap Hill, the homes we considered for the most part in the $400-600k range were poorly updated and def not in a way to "enhance" their old character. We decided it was too much money for what you get. In the end we stayed where we were, but tore down and rebuilt our house - not in keeping with its old character, but more modern with open living spaces and lots of windows. We do miss our "old" house but not its old flaws - cramped, dark, moldy spaces. At the end, it IS just dependent on the buyer/owner's taste.
  1. dc buyer said at 2:59 am on Thursday September 27, 2012:
    it's hard to replicated old houses' details--but new construction has much, much better quality than older houses due to the improvement of technology and construction code. All new construction has reinforced concrete foundation--most old ones have brick foundation; new ones would dictate adequate drainage/sump pump, which old ones typically do not have; insulation requirement is much higher... this list can go on and on.
  1. anon said at 3:28 pm on Thursday September 27, 2012:
    as long as you don't confuse old with character. There are period details worth saving and maintaining, and others that are worth updating. For example, I'd value well preserved transoms above doorways but maybe not original window molding if it's beaten to hell and surrounds leaky old windows
  1. rdhd said at 3:29 pm on Thursday September 27, 2012:
    My wife and I would absolutely pay more for a historically maintained house than one with the walls ripped out and opened up. We're looking for a new home now, and with the number of horrible "renovated" homes we've seen it seems we're in the minority in this regard.
  1. Caroline said at 9:27 pm on Tuesday October 16, 2012:
    In my experience house-hunting for two years in DC (mostly in Capitol Hill) people will absolutely pay more for original layouts and details, and houses that have maintained their original character will sell much faster.

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