Renovations take time, money, and patience. Sure the idea of buying an older home built in the 1920’s and flipping it sounds like a great idea (HGTV sure does make it look easy), but in reality it can be quite the daunting task. Here are few things to keep in mind before you buy that old home.
The older a home is and the more times it’s been sold or changed hands, the more likely any changes to the home won’t have been in keeping with the original design of the house. Sometimes a previous owner’s “improvements” were made with total disregard to the rest of the structure. We frequently have 2nd and 3rd time owners of homes we have built ask us for blueprints so that they can have someone fix the home back to its original state.
Older homes are not up to the same code as new homes, and getting them up to code can be costly. Electrical wiring and plumbing problems are common in older homes. Before the 1960’s, galvanized pipes were used both within the house and for sewer lines as well. The problem with these pipes is they tend to corrode and clog over time.
You will almost always find unexpected problems that you did not budget for. If your house was built several decades ago, there’s a good chance there is lead paint and asbestos in the flooring, duct work, popcorn ceilings, roofing, and HVAC system. Left undisturbed, these aren’t harmful, but if the project calls for scraping or cutting these materials, the powder or dust can be very hazardous. You can test for lead paint on your own, but for everything else you’ll need a professional to detect and abate these materials if you suspect they’re in your construction.
Older homes have outdated layouts and tiny rooms. Majority of older homes are not what today’s home buyers are looking for. In today’s market, kitchens, family rooms, and dining rooms all flow together to create an open concept. Master bedrooms and baths are now master suites, often big enough for a sitting area. Tearing down walls can be both expensive and dangerous if it’s a load bearing wall, and if you’re thinking about opening up a floor so you can see from the living room through the kitchen, odds are you’ll have structural issues to deal with.
Instead of taking a gamble on an older home and praying there are no unforeseen issues, why not design, customize, and build a home exactly how you want it? You can still have the quaint southern charm of an older home, without all of the hazards and stress.