If you’re in the market to purchase a house, don’t discount the possibility of buying an older home. Generally, an older property will be priced lower than a new house with the same square footage. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of living in an older home.
Disadvantages of Buying an Older Home
Updates May be Required When Buying an Older Home
When buying an older property, make sure you budget for upgrades. Depending on the age of the home, you might discover a less-than-trendy popcorn ceiling, outdated carpeting and wallpaper, and old fixtures and hardware that will need to be replaced.
Besides aesthetic improvements, you’ll also want to know if any major systems need to be updated. This is where a home inspector will help. He or she can examine and report on the condition of the electrical components, plumbing, and roofing. If the home was built in the 1960s or 70s, you may need to budget to rewire the house. Aluminum wiring was often used and it can lead to electrical problems including short circuits and even a house fire.
The Dangers of Renovations
Some older homes were built with materials that are now considered hazardous. Asbestos insulation and lead-based paint are two examples. The materials are generally said to be safe as long as they are undisturbed. However, when purchasing an older house, think about the types of renovations you may wish to tackle. Extra precautions will need to be taken to protect yourself when updating a property with lead paint and/or asbestos insulation.
Reasons to Purchase an Older Home
One of the benefits of purchasing an older home is that your house may have interesting features and architectural elements. If you prefer a house with personality, you will enjoy looking at older homes. Some features that aren’t common in newly built homes include Dutch doors. These doors are split in half and the top and bottom halves can open independently of the other. Transom windows were sometimes installed above doors. These windows could be opened to promote better air circulation in the home. Claw-foot bathtubs are another desirable feature sometimes found in older homes.
Modern homes are often built quickly and with contractor-grade materials. These are inexpensive materials, like laminate cabinets and flooring, that tend to wear out faster than higher quality products. Older homes were built to last with real stone fireplaces and real hardwood floors. You’ll find solid wood doors and cabinetry in older homes, too. Instead of replacing a sink cabinet because the door is peeling and flaking, real wood can be sanded down and refinished, extending its lifespan.
Land Included When Buying an Older Home
It’s more common to get acreage when purchasing an older property. Newly built homes are often constructed side by side with little or no lawn or garden space. In the past, larger lots were appealing to families who wanted outdoor space for gathering and gardening. When you’re shopping for a house, if the land is a priority, look at older homes.