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Ask Adam: Does Age Of Home Lower Its Value?

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. I’m looking to purchase my next property and am debating about the age of the property and its value. Aside from standard replacement of regular items (roof, appliances, HVAC), how does the year built affect the value of a townhouse or condo? If I buy a townhouse built in the 1980s, it’s fine right now, but when I go to sell it in 30 years, will it be ready to be demolished and rebuilt?

Most of the condos in Arlington are built with cement and steel. I don’t expect them to be ready for demolition in 30 years. The only residential building in Arlington that concerns me is River Place. It has a land lease and is sitting in one of the most prime locations in Arlington. I’m just not sure it has a very long future ahead of it.

There are two things that tend to negatively affect the value of older condos.

  1. The maintenance costs on older buildings is often higher and can push condo fees way above average. If the building has a good long term plan for keeping condo fees low, that is a very good thing.
  2. When finishes of buildings are not kept up-to-date they tend to become less attractive to a large pool of homebuyers. We have all walked into dank smelling condo buildings with gold trim and worn-out carpet. It certainly doesn’t make you want to pay top dollar.

With townhomes you are not subject to all of the shared maintenance costs that go along with condos. It is your responsibility to keep the home in good condition and up-to-date. If you take good care of it, your home should last much longer than 30 years.

D.C. is a great example of an area with plenty of older homes that continue to attract strong interest from home buyers.

As always, you should pay close attention to location. If it is a desirable location for reasons that will last (i.e. walkability or metro), then I expect it will continue to be a desirable home well into the future.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected]. This is also a great place to reach me for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

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