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What to Look Out For When Buying an Older Home

With the modern technological advancements and the rapid culture shifts we’ve experienced in recent decades, there has been a market across the board for vintage products. Maybe we’re reminded of simpler times. Maybe we find the styles and changes convoluted. Maybe we just aesthetically prefer older fashions. Whatever the reason for coming at it is, all kinds of vintage preferences converge in one place: the housing market.

Some people are at odds as to why someone might want to buy an old home. But it simply comes down to one word: possibilities. Possibilities are why people buy and work on all kinds of customizable homes, from mobile homes to cabins to yurts and now especially to older houses. Home buyers see older houses as an empty planet they can reinhabit. It makes sense — there is a lot of history in older houses; many times they are built or designed in ways that are now considered unconventional, and if they combine their modern tastes with a non-modern background, they can decorate and remodel it into something that maybe hasn’t been done before. However, before taking a big step into getting an old house, evaluate the pros and cons.

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What You Want

Older homes aren’t monolithic by any means. There are plenty of different sizes, shapes, and builds of homes from all kinds of ages. However, one reason many people prefer older homes is the size of the building and the lot size. According to realtor.com, older homes typically have bigger lot sizes and bigger yards. It’s possible that an older, bigger home that’s a fixer-upper could cost less for more square footing in a lot of instances as well.

While aged buildings sometimes have worse builds than those in the past, there are some designed very cleverly. It all depends, but if you live in a place with a lot of earthquakes or natural disasters, look for a sturdy, well-built house that can hopefully withstand natural obstacles.

Other than those practical basics, think about what you want in a home and how an older home may be able to provide that to you! Many older homes have a lot of individuality and character. Use that to your advantage — take that character and personalize it for your modern day life should you choose to go through with the purchase. Enjoy the differences and be proud of what you have!

The Oh-No’s!

While you’re not going to find an old home with no problems, it’s worth realizing what problems are. We’ll call these the oh-no’s. An oh-no can be a structural issue. For instance, if you notice the floor sloping, the foundation may not be steady and more prone to crumbling to a natural disaster.

An oh-no could also include any issues with the plumbing and electricity. Over time, we’ve figured out problems with ways we wired houses and ran pipes, so there may be things you need to change or may be unfixable that could be dangerous or massively inconvenient. If there is lead in the wall paint or any problems with old appliances, these could also be red flags. Luckily, any problems with them can typically be fixed. But if you go through with your purchase, you will want to handle these issues as soon as possible, because some of these things (improper piping, lead poisoning, appliance problems) can cause health concerns.

Practical Advice

When you’re viewing the house, it’s smart to bring a list of what you need to know before buying it. Particularly, you should ask about your oh-no’s, and make sure you have the lowdown on each of them before choosing to purchase. However, it’s very possible the person showing you the house won’t have all of the facts. For that, you may need some extra help. In Debt Reduction Services’ “10 Steps To A Wise Home Buying Experience” article, they recommended getting outside help.

“Particularly when looking at an existing home with no warranty, it is recommended that you have the home inspected by a professional for your protection. Even newly-built homes may be damaged, have poor plumbing, or show signs of faulty construction.”

It’s also worth noting that old homes can be extremely expensive depending on their history, location, and size. When you buy an old home, you may have to consider this in conjunction with any extra fixing-up costs you have to pay. Even an old home in relatively good condition could have aspects of it that aren’t up to par with the best modern architectural or appliance standards and could a fortune more to fix. Staying on the ball and researching this home investment before diving into it may save you money and stress in the long run.

What’s your experience been buying houses and homes that are making it up there in years? Let us know in the comments below!

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