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5 Things to Look for When Purchasing an Older Home

When you are looking for your next home to buy you will probably look at some new developments in a housing estate and also consider an older home that is probably a bit larger and also likely to be cheaper in comparison. People buy an older house for the character, the location or maybe for some other reason but once you have your eyes set on a certain property, there are certain important things to consider before you buy and here are five points that you should think about before buying an older home.

Be prepared to renovate

New homes are attractive to many because they come available in an excellent state of repair and with no maintenance or renovation to do in the short term. Many older homes are cheaper because they will often need some sort of renovating although the level of work can of course vary dramatically and this is reflected in the asking price. With almost any older house purchase you should factor in some sort of budget for even minor repairs or alterations to get the house how you want it.

Pay for a comprehensive survey

A new home comes with guarantees for the building work and also the wiring, heating and even the appliances in the house when you move in, but with an older property you need to know what you are letting yourself in for. Get a good survey to make sure that the foundations are good and also get the wiring checked as well as other aspects of the property that need certification. Getting a house re-wired because you can’t get it passed is an expensive mistake and it is better to identify a problem beforehand and negotiate a better price if there are some issues or just walk away knowing you have dodged a bullet.

Check out the building materials

This is another aspect of the purchase that should be covered by a survey or maybe by getting a qualified inspector out to verify anything that you are not sure about. Older homes may contain materials that are no longer acceptable in current building practice such as asbestos, lead or maybe even the insulation material in the loft. Ask for any certificates or guarantees from the present owner especially if dangerous materials have recently been removed or if you have your doubts about anything that you see.

DIY is a harder

This might not seem like a really important point but if you are looking to buy on a budget and need to do some repairs, you will probably find that DIY is harder to tackle in an older house as standard measurements don’t really exist. To run a repair in a new home is fairly straightforward as you can probably pick up a standard size pipe or fixture but with an older property the fittings may not be adaptable or even repairable, meaning that you may have to replace instead of repair, which will cost you valuable money and more of your time.

More maintenance

If you just want a home to go back to after work and don’t want to get your hands dirty with repairs and DIY projects then you should think carefully about buying an older property. There is a lot to like about an older home which has more character about it and can be aesthetically more appealing in many ways, but that look needs nurturing and regular maintenance will be required to keep the house in good shape and to hold its value.

If you take time to consider what you are prepared to do in maintaining your home and how you can cope financially on top of the usual bills, then an older property could very easily become an investment you are glad to have made.

Sam Dressler is a professional property consultant. His articles mainly appear on property and investment sites where he enjoys sharing his insights and property tips. Visit Sothebys for more property guidance.

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