Many people decide to go with an older house when looking to purchase their own home. After all, older homes tend to be very charming looks-wise and are often more cost-effective. However, precisely because the old house might appear like a true steal and rather cheap, you have to be very careful about potential hidden costs. This doesn't only include renovations that you’d already like to take up and can instantly visualize. You also have to consider potential issues that those old walls might hide.
- Your expenses might pile up really fast
As mentioned, the biggest reason for concern when buying an old house includes small (or big) problems that usually only become apparent when the new owner tries to go through with some other, already planned renovation work. Issues with structure and wiring are common in this case. In that respect, it’s crucial that you request a proper house inspection before actually going through with the purchase in order to be absolutely positive that this home will be worth it for you.
- Be wary of a suspiciously low price
It can be really tempting to hastily go through the purchase of a seemingly beautiful old house, especially if the price is set considerably lower than the market value. However, even though a suspicious mind is often not the best trait, this is the point in your life when you actually want to stop and ask yourself whether there's a catch. Of course, the current homeowners might not want to deceive you and will actually disclose all of the necessary repairs that the house might need. But if everything seems to be fine on the eye and the owners praise the house as if there's absolutely nothing wrong, you really want to do a bit more research and check out the inspection reports thoroughly.
- Examine the plumbing system
Older homes might possess a charm but that charm won't make much difference once you move in and discover a ton of issues with your plumbing system. This can affect your comfort and lifestyle in a rather negative fashion. Obviously, if you're ready to invest in updating the plumbing system from the very beginning, you'll be glad to know that modern drain repairand pipe relining work can actually turn out to be quite cost-effective and dig-free thanks to the trenchless technology. Still, make it a point to learn as much as possible about the pipes and plumbing in the house you're considering to buy.
- Address the electricity issue
Another aspect of an old house that can end up costing you an arm and a leg if you’re not careful is the condition of the electrical system and wiring. Keep in mind that old homes also have old wiring, which is often far from adequate for modern-day standards. Also, aside from accommodating the digital age we live in, the actual electrical system might be too outdated and even dangerous, so much so that electrical fires can be a real possibility. If you’re not ready to invest in rewiring and updating the electrical system together with overcurrent protection, buying an old house that needs this type of renovation might not be for you.
- Test for mould, asbestos and lead
Your health is the most important thing that you have - not a property. Unfortunately, older houses might have been built during the years when the use of asbestos and lead was a common practice. However, these substances can be very dangerous for one's health. Furthermore, old houses can be moisture-damaged and damp, which creates ideal conditions for mould formations. Again, mould can affect one's health negatively. Because of these potential dangers, it's crucial that you're certain that the house you're considering for purchase has been properly tested for asbestos, lead and mould. If these toxins are present, removing them would cost additional money as well.
Sometimes, buying an old house and investing in repairs will still end up more cost-effective compared to buying a completely new and modern property. However, the case might be completely different as well, which is precisely why you need to be very cautious, do your research, ask for inspections and reports, talk to the neighbours and generally do everything in your power to learn as much as possible about the said house in order to make a safe and profitable purchase.