What You Should Know About An Older Home

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Real Estate

Guest article provided by Suzie Wilson at happierhome.net

Photo courtesy of Pexels.com


Looking At An Older Home? Here’s What You Should Know


If you’re starting your house hunt – or deciding on whether to stay in your current, older home – there are a few things that you should know about homes built before the 1960s. First, they are built better. Realtor explains that most older houses are built with old-growth wood, with walls that are more structurally sound than modern-day drywall. Plus, you’ll almost certainly have an established neighborhood and a ton of character compared to those homes found in cookie-cutter neighborhoods. But there are costs to consider as well.


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What Older Homes Do Not Have

 Two things come to mind that many older houses lack. These are closet space and a garage. Fortunately, each is a relatively simple update.

 For the closet, you might opt to build a simple wardrobe or contact a contractor to frame out the length of one wall to add a long closet. Bob Vila’s website similarly suggests an inexpensive freestanding unit.

 Another significant downside that most people don’t realize when buying an older home is that the electrical service panel may not have enough amps to supply the power needed by modern-day homebuyers. Coldwell Banker explains that homes built more than three decades ago often have 100-amp or weaker service. That’s nowhere near enough to handle central air conditioners, electric water heaters, and all of the other things we plug in as power consumers. Upgrading to a 200-amp panel, which is adequate for an average-size home, costs around $3,000.


Other Concerns

 There are many other potential concerns that you’ll run into when buying an older home. Take a close look at your windows and determine if you need repairs. You’ll likely need to call in professionals for this job, so make sure you check grades and reviews beforehand to ensure the person or company you’re hiring is trustworthy. Also, budget appropriately for this expense; on average, it costs around $290 to repair a window, but this will depend on the window type and repairs needed.

 A crumbling foundation is another concern. This is an issue that requires a structural repair company and can cost $25,000 or more. Just as concerning but far less dangerous is energy efficiency. While homes today are built with top-notch insulation and environmentally-conscious features, those built in our grandparents’ time do not.

 Your home's energy efficiency matters both for your comfort and your budget. Before you buy (or move out), you’ll want to get a quote on new doors and your heating and cooling system. If you’re handy, there are things you can do that will improve your situation as well. These include sealing air leaks and adding insulation to the attic or garage.

 Before putting an offer on an older home, you will also want to inquire about its plumbing system and water source. If you are on a septic system, you are completely on your own when it comes to your waste issues. Home insurance is another matter to settle before buying. If the older home is in a rural location or is more than a few miles from the closest fire station, it may cost you much more each month to insure.



 We’ve already noted that older homes are built with higher quality and are in more established areas. But there are other perks as well, and these often come in the form of cool features not available in today’s construction. Butler’s pantries, shutters, transom windows, and fun and functional sleeping porches are just a few of these that can make your daily life much more interesting.

 Overall, buying an older home can be a smart decision. There are many benefits, but you do not want to go into it with a blind eye. Know what you are getting yourself into and the cost to outfit your older home with modern comforts and conveniences.