Should I Buy a House or Remodel in Central PA?

When you’re faced with moving to a different area or if your family has simply outgrown the home you’re in, you may be wondering if it’s better to remodel or buy a new home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The answer is a bit complicated and depends on you and your family. Buying a new home and remodeling an existing home are two totally different experiences with incredibly different outcomes. As you try to make the best decision for your circumstances, let’s explore your options and what they mean.

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Buying a new home

Buying a new home can feel like a fresh start. It can be a relief to move into a home that hasn’t been lived in by another family and with the knowledge that the home hasn’t yet gone through the wear and tear of a lived-in house. You’re also not going to have to deal with subpar repair jobs that were done by the previous homeowner. When you do eventually need maintenance and repairs, you’ll likely have a binder in hand with the specs of the mechanics, appliances, finishes, and more, making communicating with your contractor or tradesperson easy. If your home is constructed properly the first time, you can avoid repairs for quite a while. 

However, the old adage, “they just don’t build them like they used to,” rings true for anyone who has purchased a new build that may have been constructed with lower-quality materials by a lower-quality team. When you purchase a newly built home, you won’t know the contractor or the team that was hired to build your home. You won’t know if crucial steps were skipped or what corners were cut in order to build the home as quickly as possible to move on to the next project, or how many projects they had at once. These are the types of home-building practices that are all too common in today’s housing market. 

Buying and Remodeling an Older Home

If you’re set on buying an older home in Harrisburg that’s new to you, remodeling at least part of the home is all but certain. After all, the average age of a home in Dauphin County is 53 years old. There will likely be outdated finishes, like old wallpaper or cracked tile, that you’ll want to remove or replace right away. With older homes, the old-fashioned layout may need to be adjusted to suit your modern family’s needs. 

Perhaps the home will need another full bathroom, a home office addition, or a completely new kitchen. No matter the job, it’s almost always best to take care of these remodeling jobs before you move into your new space. This is especially true when your contractor comes up against unexpected obstacles, like dangerous old wiring or insect damage. If your home’s power needs to be shut off for any amount of time or if your home needs to be fumigated during a remodeling job, it would be best if your family didn’t need to find a last-minute alternative living situation. 

When buying a new home, you miss out on some of the charming features you can’t easily replicate. The benefit of remodeling an older home is being able to retain some of those charming features older homes tend to offer. You may uncover hardwood floors, be able to restore plaster ceiling medallions, or polish up ornate door hardware. Older homes are more likely to have elements like solid wood built-in shelving and kitchen cabinets, oversized door casings, and wood-framed windows. 

Remodeling an older home does come with some potential headaches. It’s hard to know what’s lurking behind the walls when you purchase an older or historic home. You may have to invest in all-new mechanical elements, like electrical wiring and an HVAC system. In many cases, however, restoring and updating an older or historic home, with all of its charm and character, tends to be a worthwhile endeavor when the project is done. There are plenty of tips and tricks to keep your project within budget and an experienced designer and contractor are prepared to help you navigate that process.

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Remodeling Your Own Home

Finally, there’s the option to remodel the Harrisburg home you already own. The perks of remodeling a home you already live in are plenty, from logistical to meaningful. Some logistical perks might be not having to change schools or your commute. You may also have those favorite eateries, shops, or music spots that you’d hate to say goodbye to, or neighbors you can’t imagine not living near. 

Remodeling your own home is the best option, especially if there are only parts of the home you’ve outgrown. For example, if you’re in need of an additional bedroom or only need to expand the kitchen, adding to a home you already love and feel comfortable in is worth the effort. Other projects, like a basement remodel, or adding an exterior living space is also worth the process of a home remodel, and are typically less intrusive to your daily routine. Consult with a trusted design-build firm to learn more about what your design goals are for your home and what you can expect from the process. During conversations with professionals, you will also learn what mistakes to avoid to make your remodeling process go even more smoothly.

If your home is in a historic district, the remodeling process is a bit more burdensome. Historical homes are protected by zoning ordinances that uphold the integrity of the original design. However, as long as you’re not altering any part of the home that you can see from the street, remodeling your historic home should go smoothly. A skilled and knowledgeable design-build team will be able to lead you through the design and construction process when it comes to historic renovations

Talk to a Pro About Your Options

Deciding whether to buy a new home, an older home, or remodel your existing home is no small feat. To dig in further about your options, talk to a professional design-build contractor. They’ll be able to guide you through your choices based on what you’d like to get out of your current or future home. Since the average age of homes in Harrisburg is 53 years old, it's very important to talk to a contractor that is an expert in remodeling and restoring old and historic houses.

Creative Building Concepts is a design-build firm based in Dauphin County that is passionate about breathing new life into older homes. With a knack for problem-solving and superb craftsmanship, Creative Building Concepts is the perfect professional team to update your home. 

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Want to Learn More?

If you’re ready for more information about getting started on your remodeling project, we’d love to talk with you. Schedule a consultation today.


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