Thinking about buying an older home? There are a few things to know before you start shopping. Essentially, you need to understand both the positives and negatives involved in this kind of a purchase.
Older, historic home have character. Buying this type of house means you will get craftsmanship that you often cannot find in today’s new construction. There is a reason that older homes are still standing — they were built to last.
While today’s builders do not always take the time to dove-tail wooden joints or hand-scrape large wooden ceiling beams, buying an older home can bring those fine details into your new abode. These are the qualities that may make you instantly want to place an offer.
But, historic charm can also mean taking on a few issues that you need to be prepared for. It pays to understand that there are pros and cons that come with owning an old house.
Consider these 5 things:
Old systems can cost you. An older home is usually filled with outdated methods of plumbing, wiring, heating, roofing and insulating. This can mean a greater cost to any needed repairs. Refitting a home with new wiring, windows, and plumbing can be expensive, so before you buy, you need to know what repairs are needed (your home inspection should tell you this), the timeline for when repairs must be done, and the approximate cost of each repair.
Amazing character takes time. With the right builder you can replicate the characteristics of an older home into new construction. But when it comes to the neighborhood, character takes time. Before you think you can replicate old home characteristics in a brand new home, consider that new homes are usually built in young neighborhoods, which are still developing. The result is that land lots are typically smaller, and there are probably not century-old oak trees that line the road or your front yard. If you want a neighborhood that feels charming and established, it may be worth it to you to buy an older home instead of just recreating the design elements of one.
Storage may be limited, bathrooms may be small, and open concept is probably not available without remodeling. Older homes have some common design features, and walk-in closets, master bathrooms, and open concept living spaces were not popular 100 years ago. If these things matter to you, you need to factor in that a remodel will be required.
You may get plenty of land, comfortable porches with character, and extra bedrooms. Builders tend to cater to how people live during the time they are building the home. Many years ago, families were larger and most people wanted enough land to plant vegetable gardens and for their kids to roam and play while they enjoyed relaxing on the porch. Buying an older home often gets you a spacious parcel of land and several bedrooms.
Insurance maybe more costly. It makes sense since older homes offer increased risk of unforeseen circumstances like dangerous wiring, old plumbing that can pose major water issues, or even crumbling concrete foundations that create the possibility for water issues and costly structural problems.
Looking at older, historic properties may be the perfect answer to all that you seek in your next home. Just be certain to ask your real estate professional questions that come to mind, pay close attention to any costly issues highlighted on your home inspection report, and research what repairs and insurance will cost you before you buy.