The Top 5 Tips for Buying an Older Home - You’d be hard-pressed to find a home that has more character or charm than an older home. Builders in past decades created homes way differently than they do now, and you can see that in the quality and the construction of older homes. Unfortunately, though, that character and charm also comes with a few difficulties you wouldn’t have to face with a brand new home. Although you should always get a home inspection any time you buy a new home, home inspections are especially-crucial when you buy an older home. There could be small issues such as hand railings that need to be replaced, or there could be major issues like asbestos that would cost a lot of money to fix and could make you rethink purchasing the home altogether. So, when you’re thinking of putting in an offer on an older home, here are the top five things you’ve got to address:
1. The HVAC system
HVAC units are a large consideration when you’re purchasing an older home. Many older homes do not have central air, and it is a costly installation – assuming the house has enough space to add in the duct work required to complete the installation in the first place! It’s also important to find out when the heating system was last updated. Many heating systems in older homes were built to outlast the owners, but you may want to consider running a home energy audit, because the system may be running up your utility bills! Many older homes also have fireplaces that could be used to supplement a heater, but beware that having to restore an old chimney could cost more than you want to pay.
2. The plumbing
Oftentimes, people will replace plumbing as needed, meaning your future home could be filled with new and old parts. Unless there have been major renovations in the past, it’s pretty likely you will have to spend some time and money replacing parts of your plumbing. Many of the fixtures in old homes are also outdated and inefficient. Replacing those fixtures could add even more expense to your home purchase.
3. The roof
Much like the plumbing, the roof has probably been updated in spots when necessary. It’s highly unlikely that an older home still has its original roof, but there is probably a mixture or older and newer shingles on it. Unless there has been a brand new roof put on the home recently, you’ll have to budget for future expenses – and probably pricey ones, at that.
4. Health and safety
Contractors in the past typically were not quite as safety-conscious as those today, and there weren’t nearly as many rules or regulations to follow.
For example, many older houses have steep staircases that could be a safety hazard to children or older adults. You may also need to replace hand railings throughout the home to ensure you and your family’s safety.
5. The aesthetics
Before purchasing an older home, ensure it’s truly what you want. If you aren’t purchasing the home for its character, you may be better off purchasing a new home. It would seem silly to purchase a Victorian home and then update it beyond recognition. Try to keep the original style of the home in mind when you redecorate. On that same note, be prepared for some surprises if you are redecorating. You may find when you start stripping wallpaper that there are more than a few layers to get through, and who knows what lay underneath the carpet that hasn’t been replaced in years!
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