Should you buy a modern home or a period home?

Whether it’s the ceiling roses typical of Victorian homes or bay windows from the federation architecture era, period homes certainly are alluring. However, while some find the unique and detailed furnishings hard to resist, others are turned away by the thought of costly repairs and heritage regulations and prefer more modern dwellings with all the latest bells and whistles.

If you’re tossing up between the charm of a period home or the contemporary comforts of a modern home, here’s some food for thought for both sides.


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Period homes

+ Period homes were generally built using higher quality materials and over a longer period than today’s homes – the fact that many are still in great condition is testament to this.

+ More attention was paid to decorative features and finishes and those are now what buyers look for when buying a period home. Timeless features such as leadlight windows, verandah fretwork and detailed cornices ooze character and attract deep-pocketed buyers.

+ Backyards are generally larger than in modern homes because land size wasn’t as big of an issue as today.

+ Period homes tend to sell quickly as they are highly sought after for those wanting a piece of Australia’s history.

+ Most period homes fetch high selling prices if well preserved and some modern comforts added.

+ With careful choice of furnishings and finishes, period homes can be modernised and transformed into a beautiful blend of historical home and contemporary styling.

– Period homes generally require more repairs and maintenance than their modern counterparts due to their age. In some cases, period homes need to be completely rewired or have major plumbing work done.

– Period features can be extremely hard to come by and very expensive. Trying to replace a broken feature tile in your Edwardian home may just be the stuff of nightmares.

– Open plan was an unknown concept in the time of period homes and as such, some may seem poky with lots of small rooms.

– There can be strict legislation governing renovations on heritage homes and it’s important to contact local council for renovation guidelines.

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Modern homes

+ Minimal repairs needed in comparison to older homes as items are newer. Tradesmen are also skilled in working on modern homes and are more familiar with repair processes and parts – meaning less difficulty finding tradesmen and less time taken on repairs.

+ If replacement items are needed such as light fittings or roof tiles, they are generally easy to source. + Most modern homes are open plan in design and boast large, open spaces perfect for entertaining. The planning also makes modern homes feel larger.

+ Contemporary design that reflects modern trends in architecture, colour and layout. It’s easy to purchase decorative pieces to match the home’s style rather than trying to find antique pieces for a period home. + More natural light in modern homes with larger windows and alfresco areas.

+ Modern comforts such as ducted air conditioning make homes more suited to rising temperatures. + Greater focus on energy efficiency and use of solar power.

– Less character and individuality than period homes – modern homes tend to look similar.

– Generally made using cheaper, mass produced building products that are lesser in quality than former products.

– Built in the fastest possible time so risk of dodgy workmanship.

– If located in newer housing developments, homes are further out from cities so commute times will be longer.

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There will also be less nearby amenities. There is no denying that there are definite pros and cons of both period and modern homes and it is up to the individual to decide which pros outweigh the cons. Whether your ideal home features stained glass windows and ornate fireplaces or an open floor plan and ducted air conditioning, you should always consider the positives and negatives of a property before diving in.

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