For one thing, each one is unique, a departure from the cookie-cutter neighborhoods of today. Inside, you’ll find plenty of character, too — so many design features will already be in place for you to use to your decorating advantage.
Of course, it’s not as easy as falling in love with an old home’s architectural assets. You should know some basics before signing a mortgage and pledging your allegiance to a property for the next 30 years. Here are five truths to consider seeing if an old home is for you:
Ensure the Place Has Good Bones
Your realtor will likely assure you of all the benefits of buying an old house — they’re historically cheaper, they tend to sit on larger lots and have more interesting design choices, of course. But none of that will be worth anything to you if the house itself doesn’t sit on a firm foundation.
So, as you begin to tour old homes to see which one you want, bring a tennis ball along with you. This will help you gauge the strength of the home’s foundation.
Simply place the ball in the middle of the floor and, if it quickly rolls away, you should assume the floors are bowing, a sign of structural problems below.
To that end, you should always include a home inspection as part of your offer. That way, a professional can perform more tests to ensure the place is solid — and will be for years to come.
Schedule a Pest Inspection, Too
Another problem with long-established properties — they’ve long been a desirable shelter for uninvited critters. Although the house appears to be in great shape, you should include commercial pest inspection as part of your home-buying process.
Of course, if your service provider does, indeed, find a creepy-crawly tenant or two, you still might be able to buy the place. Just make sure you know the action plan to get rid of them. In most cases, the inspector will pinpoint the source of the infestation. That way, they can quickly get rid of pests and prevent them from returning by finding and sealing the entrances into your abode.
Plan a Renovation Budget
No matter how charming you find your old home, we can pretty much guarantee that you will have to do some updating soon. Many old-home-owners end up replacing one of their abode’s vital systems, such as heating or plumbing. You probably already know the cosmetic upgrades you need to make, too.
So, before you buy your old home, make sure you have a renovation budget — or plans to set one aside. Your best bet is to figure out what you want to be done and how much it’ll cost. Save up the cash or take out a loan, but squirrel some of that money away for the inevitable surprises lingering in your old home — you never know when your budget will need a little wiggle room.
On top of that, if your renovation is going to be full on, you might want to consider adding the cost of a rental property into your budget. You might not be able to live in your old house as its being torn apart and put back together, so keep that in mind, too.
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Don’t Forget the Yard
Most of your attention will go to inspecting each potential home-to-be’s structure and interior, which makes sense — it’s where you’ll spend most of your time. But you should also take the property’s outdoor landscape into consideration, too.
That’s because old neighborhoods tend to have mature trees. They’re gorgeous, of course, but their branches and leaves add a lot of extra work — and money — to your home upkeep. You could spend hundreds or thousands of dollars each year for professional tree pruning, which you’ll need to keep long branches in check. It’s a pricey service, but it’s much better than having damage done to your home.
Then, of course, there are fall’s leaves. You will have to rake them up each autumn, and if the trees are big, it will be a huge task. If you’re up for the challenge, though, then forge ahead.
Use Your Imagination
Finally, those before you who have purchased old homes advise that you keep an open mind as you tour each property. So long as the bones are good, and you have the budget to fix things up, the possibilities are truly endless. And you can make swaps to the floor plan, add bathrooms or bedrooms, update to modern appliances, etc. It all starts with your vision, so let your imagination wander — an old home is the perfect canvas for your design dreams.
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All it takes is thoughtful planning and an open mind, but the rewards of old-homeownership are entirely worth it. The gorgeous, historic home you imagine will come to life and set the backdrop to your family’s stories, too. So, forego that new neighborhood in favor of the leafy old one that has been around for years — you might just find the one-of-a-kind property you’ve always wanted.
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- George Nash
- Publisher: Taunton Press
- Scott Austin Sidler
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- GIBBS SMITH
- Candis Meredith, Andy Meredith
- Renovation 4th Edition Completely Revised and Updated
- Michael Litchfield
- Prime Video
Last update on 2019-06-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API