big houseHome inspector Cedar Rapids, Waterloo Iowa- Are new homes better?

That’s a question that I rarely if ever get asked. I think that most people assume that if it’s a new home, it’s a better home. I would have to ask a question as well, and that is, better in what way?

I have been in homes that were less than five years old that were built by decent contractors and yet were in need of quite a lot.

As a home inspector that services and markets to a very large area in Eastern Iowa including Cedar Rapids, Waterloo/Cedar Falls and all of the surrounding areas I have seen my share of new and old homes.

A short list of some problems I have seen as an inspector in newer homes includes but is not limited to.

  • Holes in the shingles left from siding contractors scaffolding.
  • Furnaces in need of replacement because it would cost nearly as much to do the repairs needed to get it back up and running.
  • Homes built on low lying ground that have sump pumps running almost constantly during the dry season. You better have a battery backup on that one.
  • Physical holes in the roof that you could stick your finger through from underneath

I think new is great! Don’t get me wrong. But, it isn’t always better.


older homeI have also had the privilege of being the Home Inspector on older homes.

Now we all know that there are homes out there that have been neglected and left in disrepair for many years. We also know what we are probably going to find in those homes.

The older homes that I am referring to are the ones that have been cared for.


As a home inspector one of my favorite vintage of homes in my area is somewhere between the early 1950’s to the mid 1960’s. I consistently see a level of craftsmanship in these homes that I really enjoy. The level of thought that went into the floor plan, the amount of closet space, the quality of the foundation. The rafter systems that look like they grew together even though they are 50+ years old. All these things play into making these homes one of my favorites.

Some of the perceived shortcomings of these older homes may be:

  • older furnace
  • insulation deficiencies
  • older windows
  • outdated electrical

 As a home inspector my philosophy is, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. 

 I have seen gas forced air furnaces as old as 45 yrs and not a thing wrong with them. They may not be as efficient but they work like like a champ. Many gas providers offer generous rebate programs for adding insulation to the home which is great. I have seen as high as a 70% rebate as of late. Older windows if maintained will keep the original charm of the home and often do not need to be replaced with vinyl inserts. If the electrical system is outdated it can be brought up to date by a licensed electrician if so desired.

It’s true that sometimes the new homes may be prettier on the outside and have that VOC new carpet smell, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better IMO.