A Buyer’s Guide for an Older Homes

Humaira Nishat H

An older home gives another level of charm, warmth, character and delight. Many people have a soft spot  for classic homes. But it also comes with a number of challenges.

If you are planning to buy one, say around a 30 years old home or more, then consider the below tips before buying it.

1. Old Features

Houses that are built now-a-days are a lot different from a few decades ago. The older homes obviously have older technology and building materials. You would love the craftsman doors or wrap-around front porches and many more.

But there will be chances that you have to spend money on its renovation and replacing it with newer technologies.

Everything from plumbing, wiring, heating, windows, roofing everything will be in an older style.

  • Sloping Floors:  Floors may slope. If there is a little bit sloping and you are okay with it by covering it with rugs and furniture then it is alright. And if the sloping is very bad then you can take off the floor. If it is a hardwood floor, you can take off the first layer of the floor and then work on the beams and put it back evenly.
  • Roofs: Roof is a very important thing .Try to go for waterproof flooring. Poor installation could allow water to enter the home.
  • Outdated Electrical Systems:  Electrical Systems are not upgraded in these homes. They might even have knob and tube wiring, which is now outdated. Focus on it because electrical fires are most common in these houses. And also sensitive electronics require grounded wiring.
  • Plumbing Problems: Older houses usually uses galvanized pipes unlike the copper pipes used today. If the water pipe is in bad condition try to change it as it can deteriorate with time.
  • Old Utilities: The older homes have older utilities like the HVAC systems, the water heater and others. You might also have to do some bath remodeling or renovating the kitchen as well. There might be minor cracks in the walls. You must have to take into account the potential costs of the above before buying it.

2. Contact a Home Inspector

You should contact a home inspector who knows older homes. It will help you know about the major and the minor issues with the home.

The Home Inspector looks at the exterior and interior parts of the home including electrical, plumbing, roofing, HVAC and foundations. If you are a first-time home buyer, then this would really help you out. 

If you are planning to remodel your house like a mix of old and modern house , then definitely you can go for it. For this highly skilled architects and builders are required to guide you for the same. The mix of modern and old design is unique and will give your home an aesthetic look.

3. Check out if it is priced low

If you see a house which is listed really low, then you must make sure to do the research before getting serious about buying it. Homes that are decades old usually have a large span of missing history due to the nature of ownership changes. Consult your realtor to find out all the information.

Try to figure out the past inspection reports and any other relevant paperwork and you will know the defaults of the house and why it is underpriced. Because a good deal on paper isn’t always a good deal in reality, so make sure to do some research before buying it.

4. Home Insurance

One of the most important things that the homebuyers often neglect is the Home Insurance. The old homes come with greater risks and most of the insurance companies are not willing to give insurance to such houses.

Even if they give you insurance for the house, it is higher than the other houses. Thus it is suggested to take a look into this matter before moving in the house to avoid unexpected hazards.

5. Check the Legal Aspect

The legal check for old properties is time consuming. There are a lot of formalities and paperwork for buying such homes. You have to do the following things:

  1. You should check that all the documents are registered in government records.
  2. The property should have clear title. Try to obtain purchase agreement, sale deed, no objection certificate from the society, a copy of builder buyer agreement and documents that establish     ownership of previous buyers.
  3. Apart from this, make sure there are no dues like the electricity, water, property tax bills. Try to collect information if there are any pending charges on the property.

In Summary

Buying an older home totally depends on your choice. If you are passionate about buying one, then you should definitely go for one. Try to keep in mind some important tips before buying it. Like your budget, the renovation costs if the house needs some repairs and the insurance of the house.

Old houses have plenty of benefits that are missing in the newer homes. Try to collect more information and talk to experts for advice on the same.


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