There are different issues with different ages depending on the type of pipes used during the time of its construction. Sometimes older is better if the newer one used pipes or electrical that were only used for five years or so before found to be faulty and replaced with better materials in houses built after that five year period.
Better to not restrict to certain age criteria, but to get a thorough inspection that points out the specific defects of the materials used during the time when that house was built. Very old homes in Seattle have clay sewer pipes, for example. Tree roots can penetrate the clay and become a very expensive problem to resolve. Some may have been replaced making that particular "old" house much better than others.
Newer is not always better than older. Often you run into a house that was built with much higher standards than new homes in the same price range today. Pick an area you like and then the best house in the area for you. Going to where a new home is often will put you into a place you don't want to be. Choose area first.
I think there are pros and cons to both old and new - New homes can cost more up front, but the ongoing maintenance of them is usually less for a while. New homes also offer the nice wide open floor plans that we all love so much, although that is possible to find in an older home as well - especially one that has been remodeled. An older home usually has a larger lot size as builders build more houses on smaller lots in most cases now..
I personally like a house built in the 1960's through 1980's which has been remodeled in a well established neighborhood with mature landscaping and a good foundation. I also love the classic older homes all through out Seattle, but acknowledge that many of the systems in them should be upgraded.
If you are going to go back in the early part of the twentieth century, then be prepared to deal with plaster walls instead of sheet rock every time you hang something. Also remember that anything built prior to 1978 will have the risk of lead based paint in it. On the other hand, many new construction projects have formaldehyde products in it - unless you decide to buy something which has been green built.
In any case, as advised below, get an inspection for both old and new! Good luck!
There are good and bad home of all ages. Start looking and you'll see what I mean!
Talk to some agents--maybe at open houses--and see who speaks well on the subject, or shows you things in the house that are good or not-so-good. Also try to talk to some inspectors.
One of the finest homes I sold was a 1901 construction, 2 story with a full above ground basement, that had been moved from its original site. The construction was super--huge redwood beams, big joists and studs. The plumbing needed updating, but the house was so solid!
One of the worst homes I was involved with was a 1980's house. Everything was on its last legs--the roof, the siding, the gutters.
A house is basically 4 walls, a roof, a foundation, and a furnace. If these are good--and the water and sewer--then the age is not so critical
Best wishes--let me know how this works for you!
Remax Eastside Brokers
206 412 7792
And I would stress again that most new or newer construction does not come close to the quality of materials and craftsmanship found in many older homes. The systems can and/or should be upgraded and thoroughly inspected: plumbing, roof, furnace, windows, electrical. As previously mentioned it is the "effective age" of the home that is important. Also, I highly recommend a sewer scope that views the pipe out to the street. The sewer us usually the last upgrade that happens to an old house.
The advantage of older homes is that they have settled and seen plenty of use so with a good inspection, you can tell how well they are holding up. After the builders warranty expires in the first year of ownership of a new home, it's possible to discover you have bought a lemon.
Again, always good to check with your local builders assocation.
Risks can be minimized by making sure that you have a good property inspection completed. Normally your property inspection will reveal if you need further testing, for which you many need a mold inspection, a radon inspection, or a lead paint test.
Good Luck with your Home search. I hope this information helped!