8 Areas to Be Aware of When Buying an Older Home

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There’s something magical about buying an older home and bringing it back to its former glory. It’s a significant undertaking that is well worth the time and effort you put into it. However, are you ready for all the things that come along with renovating an old classic? The cost is often much higher than most budgets, and it can be a considerable risk since you don’t know what’s lurking behind the walls of these gems. Thankfully, here are some tips to help you decide whether you’re making a good investment.

Roof

Always have a roof inspection before buying any house. The roof is one of the fundamental elements of the structure. If the rooftop is in bad shape, it can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Additionally, you want to make sure that there are no warped boards underneath the shingles that can compromise the integrity of the building.

One of the biggest problems when a roof vent fails is that it allows water to get in underneath the shingles. One small leak can cause an abundance of mold that will eat away at your budget and potentially make you vacate the property. Plus, a leaking roof can cause all sorts of other issues besides mold and mildew. It’s important to be aware of the problems when a roof vent fails.

Electrical Wiring

Many older homes have knob and tube wiring. You can quickly check this by going to the main circuit breaker. Is it a breaker box or a circuit box? If it’s a circuit board, then replace it immediately. Also, pull back one of the electric outlet covers and see if the wiring has cloth around it.

If you see cloth on your wires, then you should plan for an entire rewire that will cost a few thousand dollars. Electric work isn’t something you can avoid replacing since codes and regulations have changed over the years. The chance of having a fire dramatically increases when you have outdated wiring.

Plumbing

Your plumbing is a significant system in your house that you can’t live without. Do you see old metal pipes, or have they been upgraded to copper or PVC? Lead tubes are dangerous because the sediment can build in them, which causes a rusty buildup. You don’t want to cook and wash clothes with water that’s discolored or has a massive iron content. One simple trick is to let the water run and observe the color of it. Does it have any discoloration that’s concerning? It’s best to have a plumber do a thorough inspection and see if the pipes are updated or need to be replaced, among other issues.

Foundation

They don’t make houses like they did decades ago. However, even the most durable structure can have foundation issues, and these issues aren’t specific to older homes. One of the best ways to identify a foundation issue is by stress cracks and uneven floors. Do you see any signs of these issues in the residence?

One trick potential buyers use before committing to a property is to roll a small ball across the floor. Does the ball go to the side or come back to you? If the ball does anything but roll to the other side of the room, then it could indicate you have a foundation problem.

HVAC Unit

In previous decades, people often used forced flow air vents, fireplaces, and radiators to heat their homes. AC wasn’t a common addition until the late 1980s, and central air became popular in the 1990s. Today’s homeowner looks for these items since they make the house comfortable year-round. First, check for ductwork.

Is there ductwork inside the home? Radiators and forced air vents didn’t require ductwork. It’s always a wise investment to have an upgraded HVAC system installed that will appeal to all families and make the property livable.

Windows

How are the windows of the home you’re interested in buying? Windows are a hefty investment, but they’re worth the cost. Did you know that drafty windows are a considerable energy loss for your house that can drive up your heating and cooling costs?

You want to avoid old aluminum, single-pane windows, and old wooden ones that have foggy glass from a leak. Yes, those foggy windows won’t wipe clean since the condition is caused by a seal leak. They’ll need to be replaced. Make sure you budget windows into the equation if the house doesn’t have double-paned, updated ones.

Doors

While it’s not super expensive to replace a door, it can be a challenge. Today’s doors are a standard 36 inches, while doors of yesteryear seemed to have custom sizes. Part of the charm of an older home is that it has these unique quirks that make it exceptional.

You indeed won’t find the architecture in cookie-cutter homes built today. However, it can be a challenge to work around these doors when they’re warped and need to be replaced. Don’t underestimate the cost of a custom door. While it’s not going to break the house deal, it can increase your budget.

Closet Space

Another consideration that many people don’t even think about when buying an older home is the closets. Houses built before 1950 didn’t have the large storage closets that are in homes today, and walk-in varieties weren’t an option. The main reason behind the lack of closet space is that people didn’t have an abundance of clothes like they do today.

It’s a significant issue when you have a lack of storage space. Are there other areas in the property where you can make closets or extend the current ones if they’re not a sufficient size? These are questions that are very important for the livability factor of a home.

If it’s always been your dream to buy a fixer-upper, then it’s an excellent investment to put money into an older home. The charm and character that comes with these houses are beyond anything you can find from home builders of today. Be careful when making the purchase of an older property, as it can swallow up a substantial amount of money. If you have the time and cash to invest in one of these masterpieces, then it could become your magnum opus.

We can help you find the perfect home. Look at our listings to see what we’ve got available!