I have always enjoyed the charm of an older house. I find them to have more character than a new home and their bones are often better. People do not build like they used to. Not only do these homes have their own unique style they are also ready for you to put your own personal stamp on them if you decide to renovate. When I walk into an older property I can see their potential to become a beautiful customized dream home.
If you are choosing this option there are some things you want to look out for in order to guarantee you are not getting into more than you bargained for. Educate yourself when it comes to investing in an older home and do some research on any residence you consider buying. If you like the Okanagan take some time to look at Penticton real estate as there are many good older home options there. Just make sure you keep a few things in mind.
- The Ever Important Inspection
While I would never buy any home without first getting a thorough professional inspection this is even more important when you are contemplating investing in an older home. I would even go so far as to recommend you get in more than one inspector to do a walk-through. If there are any structural issues get an engineer to see what you are working with. It is better to know upfront any issues you will have to deal with.
- Lead Paint and Asbestos
Many older homes from certain eras have lead paint and asbestos in them. You won’t need to take on a remediation project in every case but if you are planning on any substantial renovations or if you have young children you may have to. If you are not planning on renovating this may not be an issue but if you are keep in mind remediation is costly and time-consuming. This problem would mean calling a professional in.
- Mould and Water Damage
Living in a home with mould is never a good idea and when buying an older home you will want your inspector to be on the lookout for it. If you or the inspector see any evidence of water damage ask questions about the source and whether it has been fixed. Your inspector should have a special gadget to test for mould. If you find there is any remember before you buy that it is expensive to remediate.
- Insulation Quality and Quantity
In older homes that have not been remodelled or renovated there is often a severe lack of suitable insulation. If you live in a cooler climate heating a house without good insulation can mean a very expensive utility bill. Being aware of this problem and knowing what you are dealing with can mean no surprises down the road. I suggest replacing outdated and damaged insulation or you will find yourself bleeding money.
- Electrical and Plumbing
Make sure you get the inspector to look at the electrical panel and the plumbing. Ask the current owners how old the old electrical system and plumbing is and if it has ever been updated. Outdated wiring and pipes can result in fires or leaks. If there have been updates ensure it is up to code and that they are running safely and efficiently.
- Remodelling and Renovations
If you are planning on doing a major remodel or renovation some of the above points are moot. You still want to know though if there is mould, lead or asbestos as these will add to your bottom line. You also want to be aware of foundation or structural issues. If none of these apply happy remodelling.
- Wait For Big Changes
Once you have taken the plunge and purchased your very own character home consider waiting a few months before jumping in with renovations. Get to know the house first as this helps you to decide what needs remodelling first and what can be put off until later on down the road.
- The Rewards
Though buying an older home means there will be obstacles to overcome and you must do your homework it can be one of the most rewarding undertakings to bring an outdated home back to life. With its quality construction, old school charm, unique character and touches of craftsmanship an old house can become a dream home with a bit of attention and some TLC.