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Why You Should Consider Buying an Old Home

One of the most important things to consider when buying a home is its age. While many people favor newer

construction, we recently interviewed our own local “old-house-expert,” Larissa Munsch to get her perspective on why she thinks buying an old home is the way to go.

Are old homes better than new construction? Larissa says old homes are superior in terms of construction. Houses were simply built stronger, to last longer, and with more attention to artistry. Think back to a century ago or more when many old homes were built, especially in Northwest Kansas. There were many skilled laborers specializing in things like stained glass, plaster, woodwork, cabinetry, etc.

Is old lumber better than new lumber in home construction? According to Larissa the materials used in old homes were of higher quality too. The wood that was used 100 years ago is more resistant to rotting, insects, and pests. It is much stronger than the lumber we buy today. Larissa suggests this is because the trees that were cut down were incredibly old, meaning the tree rings were tighter and more solid when compared to the lumber used in constructing new homes today.

Is lathe and plaster better than sheetrock?

“Most people don’t realize that traditional lathe and plaster is a much superior building material to drywall or sheetrock. Builders transitioned away from lathe and plaster around World War II because it required less skill and was much faster to install.” Larissa said. She prefers plaster because it is much more mold-resistant, insulating, sound deadening, and fire-resistant than drywall.

Do I have to replace the windows in an old house? Larissa explained to us how older materials were meant to be repaired and last forever, specifically windows. She says newer vinyl windows have an average lifespan of 15 years before they start causing issues and unlike old windows, they can’t be repaired. They must be replaced.

“There is also a big misconception about old windows and energy efficiency. Old windows with a proper storm window will offer almost the exact same energy efficiency. Plus, homeowners save thousands of dollars in the long run when compared to new windows since they need to be replaced more often. A properly re-glazed and repaired window should last 50 years before they need attention again.”

How important is “character” in a home? One thing not to be overlooked when considering an old home is character. Larissa says she loves the history and stories that old homes can tell. There’s nothing else quite like it.

If you’ve considered buying an old home, reach out to one of the many skilled agents at Coldwell Banker Executive Realty to discuss your options in the Hays area real estate market.


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