Nostalgic but rational: things to know before buying an old house

Written by Posted On Saturday, 12 November 2016 11:31
old restored house old restored house

pretty old house

What makes old houses so attractive?

Old houses attract home buyers with their unique features and romantic appeal they inevitably feature due to the non-common structure, location and the opportunity to restore something old and beautiful. Older houses that require significant renovation investments may also cost a lot cheaper that the newer alternatives of the same square footage and within the same neighborhood.

Taller ceilings, vintage details, astonishing hardwood floors, brick wood-burning fireplaces, the fact that these homes are typically located in well-developed neighborhoods closer to the downtown areas and the price that may appear particularly attractive to those, who’re looking for a bigger house on a tight budget and don’t mind spending a few years on putting the house back in order, may sometimes overshadow the difficulties related to remodeling, maintaining and living in an older home.

However, the benefits of buying an older home, its price, its unique facade and the character no other homes are able to offer are often offset by the hidden costs related to the purchase, especially the major repairs you may not expect even after taking a closer look at the house.

Thus, if you’re on a market for an old house, eliminate the post-buying regret by hiring a professional general contractor to go house shopping with you and conduct numerous brief inspections and estimates to give you the bare truth about the condition the house is in and make you aware of all the issues and expenses you’ll have to deal with when renovating and living in the house you’re considering to buy. This will help you compare the pros and cons of purchasing a certain home and find a true gem that won’t cost you a fortune.

And, here’re of the most important things you need to look out for before buying a dream old house of your own.

Things to remember when shopping for an old house

  1. Start with the siding. If it’s wooden, you need to know that repainting it every once in a while will be a pain in the backside. If you attempt doing it on your own, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to get it done. Hiring a painting contractor for that matter will cost you anywhere from a few hundreds to a few thousands of dollars depending on the square footage of surface that has to be painting old house siding
  2. Considering the roof’s wear and tear, you have two main options: the first one is installing an additional layer of shingles is that’s possible or completely replacing the roofing if the underlayment is ruined or if the old-fashioned roofing tiles are cracked or missing.
  3. Some older houses may have issues with electrical wiring, Thus, you need to inspect it and, if the home is already bought, look into hiring an electrician and replacing it to avoid major short circuit and household appliance breakdowns.
  4. The old-school wood-burning fireplace may become one of the major things that make you fall in love with the old home. However, safety issues related to its exploitation will lead to inevitable furnace replacement, which adds another few thousands of dollars into the bucket of renovation expenses.old woodburning fireplace
  5. Think about how many outlets people needed back in the days and how many you actually use to charge your devices and plug in various appliances. Get it? If you don’t want to deal with numerous extension cords and wire webs, you’ll have to get additional outlets installed pretty much in every single room, especially in the kitchen. And that’s approximately $100 per one outlet.
  6. Look out for the mold, excessive moisture and pest infestation literally everywhere. It’s especially important for the homes that have stayed empty for a while. Pest extermination may turn into a life-long war for you unless you enlist the professional’s support.
  7. Old wooden windows may become a major reason of the heat loss in the house. They won’t be too easy to open and close on a daily basis. The installation of the modern energy efficient windows and window screens will cost at least $300 per window, window installation contractors’ services not included.replacing windows after buying an old house
  8. Older houses lack proper insulation, which makes them cold and too expensive to heat/cool down. Thus, unless the previous owner has already done it, you’ll need to upgrade the old home’s insulation to avoid huge energy bills, significant heat loss in winter and extensive heat accumulation/air conditioning costs in summer, as well as the moisture and mold issues.
  9. Old plumbing will be the most difficult and most expensive to replace. At the same time, you will not be able to avoid its terrible condition for too long due to the disgusting smell, blockage, leakage and rupture deteriorated water lines and sewerage will ‘surprise’ you with.
  10. Increased insurance. Insurance companies often require raised insurance payments arguing their point from the position of the safety risks (higher fire hazard due to the old wiring and furnaces, older roofs, etc.) old houses bear. This is the issue most future homeowners excited to buy an old house and turn it from an ugly duckling to a beautiful renewed swan often forget about.

So, take the professional inspection part of house shopping seriously and make sure to hire a highly-qualified general contractor from to carry out a throughout examination before you say the final yest to the house. 


Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Agent Resource

Limited time offer - 50% off - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.