in praise of the older home

By Carol Billups, broker, cabo realty pros

So much of the real estate news here is about all the exciting brand new housing options coming to 
Cabo. And while that’s great, it’s also important not to overlook the older homes. In the “preconstruction versus pre-owned” debate one rarely hears about the advantages of purchasing an older existing home, but I believe those advantages are very real and worth any buyer’s consideration. Some of the more important things to keep in mind when you are deciding which option is best for you are:
1.    Breathing room. Let’s face it: we’re a boom town at the end of a peninsula. Land is a precious commodity and today’s developers are maximizing the number of units in each of their projects. If you want a garden, a little space for adding on or just some distance between you and your neighbors your best bet will be buying a home built before Cabo became such a hot destination.
2.    Quality Construction. Houses built a few decades ago were all hand crafted custom homes. The builders may not have had the resources we now enjoy (more about that later) but they built for the ages. Some of the design features were adaptations to our climate – one reason some homes stay cooler in the summer and have fewer flooding problems than their newly built alternatives. The architects who built back then typically did extensive studies of the terrain and worked with it in siting and designing the structure.
3.    Better Financing. Developer financing is a one-size-fits-all proposition. While it may perfectly suit your needs, if you want or need something different it is very rare for a developer to allow any personalization of the plan. On the other hand, an individual selling their own home is more likely to be open to customizing the payment plan to accommodate everyone’s interests.
4.    Personality Plus. For better or worse (and sometimes worse would be a kind description) our older homes incorporated individual features that gave each a unique personality. It’s not uncommon to find older homes where the contractor built around a giant boulder, making it a design feature instead of fighting nature. Arches, deep doorframes, whimsical custom wrought iron gates, fountains and sculptures are touches you rarely find in newer construction, and they may appeal to you once you see them in person.
5.    Established Neighborhood. With new construction and especially with pre-construction it’s hard to imagine what the neighborhood will look like upon completion. Yes, there are generally architect’s renderings of the PLAN, but with an older home the community is already in place – what you see is what you get. In general the home-owners association is in place, you know what the dues are, what they cover, and how well the community functions based on history, not planning.
6.    Location. Want a spacious condo in a low density development close to the beach for a price under three million US? There are only a few developments that fit the description, and they are all among the very first offered in the area several decades ago.
7.    The here and now. Forgive me for being obvious, but one of the key advantages to buying an existing home is that you can use it (or begin renting it) from the minute your transaction closes. Pre-construction homes come with a target delivery date – which, after all, is subject to change.
These are just a few of benefits of older homes, and that’s without factoring in that many of them are being offered for sale at prices less than replacement value. But, there are also bound to be a few quirks. When I take clients to older homes I like to remind them not to make judgments about the seller’s taste. Even as recently as 15 or so years ago you built with what was available. When we moved here full time we found that our little vacation home was a bit cramped for full time residence and decided to add on. Eighteen months into the scheduled-for-three-months project we found the architect had neglected to order tile. We took the calculation of area to the local sources and found that there was only one store that had enough in stock to finish the work. We were offered two choices of design and selected the least heinous. So it is with the tile, appliances and lighting in many older homes, but then those are quick and affordable fixes when you balance them against the many other advantages the property might offer. When all is said and done you may find that you, too, can find a lot to love in an older home.

Carol Billups is Broker/Owner of Cabo Realty Pros in Cabo San Lucas. She can be reached at cell 044-624-147-7541 or via email at carolbillups@hotmail.com. You can search the entire MLS on her website www.caborealtypros.com.