Obviously the answer is going to be—“sometimes.”
I have never held much stock in the idea that they don’t make things like they used to. My usual retort when someone says this to me is: “Fortunately.”
In my experience, while there is some “planned obsolescence” involved with the material things in our lives, most things actually have a good chance of being constructed better than they were in the past. Houses “generally” are built better because we have learned to engineer them better and make them perform better in terms of today’s needs. While there will always be exceptions both with new and old construction, I generally have no interest in owning a home built at the turn of the century, and would prefer new construction over old construction on many levels.
Most homes can end up being money pits but this is especially true of older homes.
An important thing to remember is that every era creates great houses that will be around for a long time and every era also creates houses that will not last very long. It is unfair to compare today with a long time ago in terms of housing stock because right now there are lots of houses that are garbage. The houses from a long time ago that were garbage are long since gone.
At a recent inspection I did find something that harkened to a level of quality that is rare today—-except at a very high cost. This type of lockset was very common in 1913. This was an “ordinary” lockset back then. An “ordinary” lockset from today WILL NOT be around in 100 years. While there are some made today that could be around in 100 years, you WILL PAY a lot of money for them ($400-600 dollars or more). Most people concerned with how they are going to pay the morgage on their new home are likely not going to fork over a big percentage of a payment for just a lockset.
This lockset had the date the lockset was purchased and the date it was installed stamped on the thumb latch—-it has served as the front entry door lockset for 98 years.
Pretty impressive—-the house came with awesome roses as well.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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