You love old houses and have always wanted to find the right one and settle into a long-term restoration project. If affordability is a definite factor, you may be looking for a bargain. The classic “fixer-upper” can be a possibility, and many old structures can pay dividends on your time and money. However, if you choose the wrong property your old home renovation may turn into a “money pit.”
When you’re shopping for an older home to renovate, the best advice is to avoid letting your emotions influence your decisions. You need to assess each property objectively, gather as much information as you can, and hold out for the one that meets your criteria. Here are some tips for doing so:
1. Inspect the home’s façade.Check out the condition of siding. Deteriorating siding may indicate rot or mold behind the exterior. If the façade is brick and mortar, portions or all of the façade may require tuckpointing. A masonry contractor can determine the extent of the damage and what kind of materials would be necessary for repair.
2. Check out the roof.
Hire a roofing specialist to tell you if the home needs a new roof. If there are chimneys, you need to inspect both the exterior and the interior soundness thoroughly. Chimney repair and cleaning can restore safety and efficiency.
3. Spend time in the basement.
Check inside for exposed wires and pipes and outside for cracks in the foundation, or water pooling around the home.
4. Scrutinize plumbing and wiring.
Old houses may still have galvanized steel pipe and aluminum wiring which will have to be replaced. Check the bathrooms for leaks that can cause rot and structural damage.
5. Get a professional inspection.
When you start to narrow your choice to one or two homes, hire a home inspector to assess the structure from top to bottom. Try to schedule that inspection soon after a rainfall. You will be able to identify water at the foundation that might cause problems.
The professionals that you consult in your assessments can provide estimates of the cost of any repairs. Armed with a realistic estimate of renovation costs, you can use your budget to guide your final decision.