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When You Want to Buy an Older Home: What are Your Considerations?

The real estate market is flooded with new-construction homes, which indicates that today’s home buyers prefer buying newer homes over older houses. But there are a few home buyers leaning towards the “fixer-upper” old homes side, especially those enticed by the nostalgic appeal of owning an “antique” home.

Older homes have features and a charm that is absent in most new homes. Ceilings with rustic wood beams, beautiful fireplaces and wood trim and moldings – these are just some amazing features that you can’t find in new-construction homes.

But behind the gorgeous and antique façade, there could be a mountain of repairs. There may be mishaps lurking behind the walls that lead you to invest in construction materials, hire a contractor or a plumber to fix the trouble or even call a tick and pest control company.

Purchasing an older home comes with many benefits, but there are factors to consider first.

white painted wooden house at rural area

Older Homes Come With Older Materials and Technology

Older building materials and technology are not always a bad thing. The hand-crafted and customized qualities of older homes usually offer a durable structure and long-lasting value that is elusive in mass-produced homes. There’s a reason you’re still seeing older homes – they were built to last in the first place.

Due to the fast-paced of modern construction and real estate, many builders no longer take the time to hand-scrape ceiling beams or dove-tail wooden joints. Both are qualities that set historic homes apart. But there are issues that come with these features.

Technologically speaking, older houses also come with ancient roofing, insulating, wiring, plumbing and heating properties. All of these mean costly repairs. After all, refitting an old home with new plumbing, windows and wiring can consume a huge chunk of your budget. Plus, you’ll have to hire a plethora of inspectors, engineers, foundation experts and contractors to start the project. The most minor problem you may have is to spray paint cardboard features.

Before you buy an old home, consider the potential costs that come with the repair and replacement of older building materials and technology.

An Older Home May Require Some Remodeling

Many modern homeowners are in love with the idea of an open floor plan with big bedrooms, bathrooms and closets. Unfortunately, older homeowners and home builders didn’t have these qualities in mind when they were designing or building their homes.

Older homes have a couple of small bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a lack of storage and closet space. So, before you move in with your family of five (plus pets), make sure that a potential home has enough space for everyone. Otherwise, you might need to plan for an expansion and remodeling.

Another thing to note is that you may be limited when it comes to renovations. Before you start a renovation, check with your local Building and Planning Department to determine the restrictions. You may also be limited in terms of the changes you can make. You may not be allowed to make changes to the interior layout or to add a fence to the structure.

How Much Will Your Home Owners’ Insurance Cost?

Another important thing that many home buyers overlook is the cost of homeowners’ insurance. This is a pricey must-have, no matter what home you buy. However, older homes may come with a more expensive price tag.

After all, older homes come with more risks and insurance companies are unwilling to pay the huge bills that come with unprecedented circumstances. Crumbling concrete foundations can cause expensive structural problems, old plumbing poses serious water damage and old wiring is a fire hazard.

While you are calling other experts, shop around for homeowners’ insurance. Don’t make the mistake of moving to a new home, only to discover that you’re left with an expensive insurance policy.

Older Homes Have Character You Can’t Buy Everywhere

Wrap-around front porches, solid wood craftsman doors and wide-plank wood floors – these are some reasons many people love older homes. To a certain extent, you can replicate some of these finishes in new construction homes.

However, newly built homes are often located in young neighborhoods that are still developing. If you’ve always wanted an old oak tree near your home, that’s impossible. A tree-lined street in a quaint neighborhood does not happen in 24 hours. You must settle the debate on whether you should buy an older, character-laded house or try to replicate the features of old homes.

The Bottom Line: Is Buying an Old Home Worth It?

Whether purchasing an old house is right for you, is a personal decision. Old homes have many benefits that you won’t find in mass-produced new homes but there are also limitations to consider. Your best option is not to rush into the purchase and do your research first.