Things to Consider When Buying an Old House.
It's like a love affair; some older homes make your heart skip a beat. It is hard not to fall in love
with an older home’s historic unique architecture, gabled roofs, hardwood floors, crown moldings
and antique light fixtures—older homes definitely have their charm.
The plastered walls, leaded glass windows, original chandeliers, and oak paneling make an old
home as attractive as it can possibly be. If you found your love you should be aware of the
following money pitfalls of old houses. You do not want to discover that beneath the surface of
your dream home lays a dilapidated wreck.
This article provides you with some valuable tips to help you identify potential problems and some
renovation rules, should you decide that this love affair is going to be your Gold Mine.
The foundation is the most important aspect of any home especially for older ones. One problem
that is common for older homes is called the “sulphate attack”. This can occur as a result of a
chemical reaction between the soil and the concrete, which causes the foundation to crack and
crumble and that can be very problematic. Another major concern with older homes is that the
centre beam of the home can begin to sink. This can result in a sagging roof, bowed walls, and
sloping floors. If the old house has a bad foundation then renovating it can be very expensive
where the cost can range from several thousand dollars to approximately $50,000 depending on
the size of the home. Also, in some cases, one might need to jack up the house to replace the
foundation and shore up the centre beam.
When buying an older house, it is very important to find out if there are any problems with the state
of the electrical and lighting system. Do the lights flicker? Is the current steady or do the lights
fluctuate between bright and dull? Is there adequate lighting in the home? It’s important to have
the wiring carefully inspected. Also, many older houses use aluminum wiring, which is cheaper than
copper wiring but it is a serious fire hazard. Ensure that you factor the cost of rewiring into your
offer price. Also, you should consider whether there are enough outlets in the home to suit the
needs of a modern household. Install more outlets in order for you to run a number of devices at
once like a television, computer, stove, etc.
In older homes, lead paint is very common as lead was used as a white pigment in paint until the
mid-1950s. If you are planning to repaint the home, call in a professional renovation firm as they
know the safety precautions needed to be taken when repainting the house. Children and pregnant
women should not be in the home during renovations.
Asbestos is a mineral that makes a very effective fire and heat-resistant material that was
discovered to cause lung disease. When the tiny particles of this mineral are inhaled, over a period
of years they begin to damage the tissue of the lungs. In old homes, asbestos was used in carpet
underlay, textured paints, roofing felt, electrical wiring insulation, acoustic ceiling material and
insulation. Getting the house checked for asbestos is critical.
Galvanized pipes are known to rust very quickly. Most insurance companies now refuse to cover
water damage caused by leaks in a home with galvanized pipes.
Condition of the Older Home
Just like people, years will eventually take a toll on homes as well. An older home may begin to sag
and slope, which is why it's very important to know about the conditions of the house you’re
planning on purchasing.
Older homes may be beautiful, but they aren't designed for modern living without a total update or
upgrade. Make sure the house structure can be modified easily to suit a current living style.
For older homes, renovations are a challenge. To determine the price you are willing to pay, add up
the estimated costs to renovate the property based on a thorough assessment of the house. Then,
subtract that from the home's market value after renovation. Allow for an additional 5% for cost
overruns and unforeseen problems plus inflation.
Preserve the Charm of Your Old House
If you have already fallen in love with this old house, then make sure you follow the golden rules in
repairing your dream home and preserve its historic features and value.
1. The golden rule of remodeling is, "do no harm". As you update your older home, make sure to
preserve its historic details. Reuse existing materials. Keep historic moldings and hardware.
Wire gas lamps for electricity. Keep distinctive examples of craftsmanship. Restore marbling,
stenciling, and carvings.
2. Don't try to undo long-ago renovations. Most buildings change over time, and alterations to
your house may have historic significance in their own right.
3. Whenever possible, repair rather than replace. Don't throw away that old claw foot
bathtub—have it re-glazed. Fix damaged doors, refinish old cabinets and patch cracking
4. If historic features cannot be repaired, look for a similar item at an architectural salvage
centre, or buy a new item that matches the old in design, colour, texture, and other visual
5. And best of all make sure you hire a contractor that shares your passion and understands
your love affair with your old house.
Good luck, you may have found your Gold Mine.