Should I Buy an Old House?
Love the charm of old houses? Me too. I’ve owned and renovated several old homes. However, there are things you need to be aware of. You must look past the charm of wood floors, big old windows and woodwork.
Old houses are money pits. You need to be aware of this going in. Everything you do in an old house will cost more. What starts out as a simple project often turns into something more complex, as fixing one problem often leads to another.
Old houses often have foundation problems that are expensive to fix. Many old houses have extensive termite damage that may be concealed.
Old plumbing piping (60+ years or so) will need expensive replacement.
Old electrical systems will need expensive updating.
There is often little or no insulation, leading to high energy usage.
Old houses often have crawl spaces that are a source of moisture and mold. This can lead to problems inside the house.
Old houses often have lead based paint that increases the cost of any work you are having done.
Insurance will be expensive. Insurance companies don’t like old houses as they often have expensive claims. Your insurance company may require replacement of old plumbing piping and wiring.
If you plan on renovating an old house, start with the basic systems. Repair the foundation. Repair or replace plumbing piping. Replace the wiring. Update the HVAC system. Repair or replace old windows and doors. Repair or replace the roof.
After you have all of that squared away, you can start on any interior remodeling. Feeling poor yet? You will. An old house will consume every extra dollar you have. Just be aware of what you are getting into. Here’s where an experienced home inspector can help ground you in reality.
Mark Cramer is my home inspector of choice. He provided excellent, responsive service in 2009 for my first house purchase. So much so that ten years later, we went right back to him for our next house purchase. He doesn’t mind home buyers who want to be there during the inspection so they can learn about the house. He’s very thorough and detail-oriented. His reports are also detailed, provide key information about the house, and also recommendations and pictures of how something should be done if it is not correct currently. All home inspectors are not same! Many are light on experience, light on details, or produce small reports. You want someone with Mark’s experience, knowledge, and willingness to do thorough reports. Don’t skimp on your home inspection when you spend thousands to purchase a house! Hire Mark!Leslie P.