So Many Issues
If you are an avid follower of this blog, you’ll know that we recently invested in a hundred-year-old house. We’ve encountered a variety of issues that comes with the territory. The lack of cleanliness was my first item of concern. We moved straight into our renovation and had to address this issue first. If you’re thinking about buying your own older home, it’s worth pointing out that cleanliness is typically going to be the least of your worries. There can be severe, expensive issues with older homes that you should know about before you think about buying.
Is It Clean?
If you’re searching for an older property you’ve probably found that there are lots of them available. The problem with most of them is that they’ve likely been empty for a while. Our house had been a foreclosure and we estimate that is was vacant for at least 3-4 years. A house being neglected for so long will have likely have lots of, for lack of a better word, ickiness. Years of grime and dust can aggravate allergies and generally be unpleasant. Depending on the age and state of the home, it might just be worth hiring a professional clean-up crew, particularly if you’re worried about what might be inside the home. At the very least, you should make sure that you are wearing protective clothing when cleaning an older home.
Insect And Pest Infestations
You might also find that an older home may have a problem with insects and even rodents. It’s quite possible that there are rats, mice, and all other sorts of pests in every area of the home from the basement to the attic. If there are only a few pests, you might be able to deal with the issue yourself. Don’t forget though, pests like rats breed very quickly, and a home will quickly become overrun if the issue is not handled. So, if the home has been empty for a while, there could already be a huge infestation. Thank goodness, this is one problem we managed to not have. With the exception of squirrels, we were relatively pest free. If the house you’re considering has a pest problem, don’t let that put you off buying. There are a great pest control services that can help with this.
This is a BIG issue. Depending on the age of the roof, it’s possible that the home has been exposed to the worst of the elements over the years. If that’s the case, then you may well find there is water damage. Aged plumbing and leaky pipes can be trouble. We’ve had our fair share of discovering leaks in ceilings and down walls. Depending on the level of water damage you might be able to fix this issue yourself.
You’ll first need to address the source of your water problem. Sometimes leaky pipes are easily fixed as in our case. If the roof is leaking, you’ll need to get that addressed first. There’s no sense in repairing an area that’s only going to be affected again. There are things you can do yourself. You’ll need to get rid of any damp items such as old carpet. If it’s been soaked, rip it out. Mold is a big concern so you’ll also need to think about getting the moisture out of the air. You can use a dehumidifier to do this. However, if the water damage is severe, then you’ll need the pros. Companies like RestorationEze can quickly clean up the property and make sure that your home is everything you dreamed it would be. Definitely consult with professionals if you have any doubts.
One of the most important things you need to investigate is the overall structure of the property you’d like to buy. You need to try to research the materials used to build the house. Asbestos siding and shingles are a big player in tons of older homes. Asbestos was also used for insulation in some cases. This has been linked as a potential cause of Mesothelioma. It can be quite costly to have asbestos removed and you need to consider carefully if it would be worth the investment. If you have any question as to whether or not a property you’re considering has asbestos materials, have a professional test for it. Then you can check on costs of removal.
The condition of the foundation of the property, for us, was about the most important question we had before purchasing our Yellow Rose. Before we put an offer in on our house, we had a foundation company come out and check for potential problems. Amazingly enough, our 120 year old house only had some relatively minor problems. Our house is built on a pier and beam foundation and was “off” only about four inches. They ended up adding beams and piers just be sure everything was shored up and that the house would be standing another 100 years. I say this was minor- it ended up costing us over $8,000 but could have been more. It was worth our peace of mind to be certain our beauty was on a firm foundation and wasn’t going to crumble down around us after we bought her.
Don’t be Afraid
It’s good to go into the process of buying and restoring an older or historic property with your eyes wide open. I honestly romanticized the process in my mind and went in unprepared for the stress of the reality. I didn’t want to listen to naysayers because I just knew it would be different for us. Even though The Mean Man and I are capable of doing much of the work ourselves, remember working a full time job at the same time only leaves weekends to really get stuff done. Know that the process is going to take much longer and cost much more than you anticipated. That being said, the rewards are great as well. Give yourself a break and realize that this is a marathon and not a sprint and enjoy the things that go right. Look for the blessings and find joy in the journey.