There is a lot of mysticism and an undeniable charm around buying a fixer-upper and embark in the renovation but, c'mon, you need to be realistic about it. Buying an old house can be the best investment of your life or a complete nightmare. It can be a huge challenge, though a very rewarding one. What do you need to know to get the most out of it? Only the tips we share with you in this article!
Antique and stylish vs. old and cracked
An amazing wood fireplace is usually mated with an old rusty inefficient boiler and heating system. Those beautiful ceiling beams can be damaged by mold and bugs, and the apparently solid masonry could hide ages-old foundation damage. Old homes were built to last, but you can't always expect the proper maintenance from the previous owners. Additionally, you have to keep in mind that some modern materials are better today than their vintage alternatives.
You should always hire an inspection when buying a new house, and in the case of an old one a double inspection seems more than appropriate. Inspectors are human beings and can miss things, so an extra 600 bucks now can save you loads after moving because you’ll be able to ask for a quote for the whole improvement and get a better price than fixing things as they appear. Also, an engineer and a pest control company can unravel structural damage or hidden infections that a general inspection might overlook.
Time and budget for upgrading the building
Even the most commited DIYers will need to hire professionals for some tasks, so you need to evaluate whether you really will have the time and the discipline to do the work or you should leave more stuff to contractors.
After the inspections, you can ask for an open quote and talk to your contractor about time and expectations and make a plan to work together. With all the numbers on the table you may find that you prefer to spend some money in a paint job than to spend a whole weekend dirty and exhausted -though romantic that might seem in the movies-.
Finally, is your spouse as convinced as yourself on spending your free time on those chores? A DIY remodel can be as dreamy as it sounds or the very reason of an ugly split, so you better have this conversation right when the idea of buying an old house arises.
Are you and your family ready to buy and upgrade an old house?
In the end, everything comes down to your personality. You will know the amount of your investment -and if you are able to face it- after the inspections and estimates are added to real estate value, but to calculate the time you will spend working to get everything done can be tricky.
If you are ready to face some major remodels and keep them going even weeks after moving, your family is on board and believes that it could be fun and everyone is happy to endure the stress of the tasks, then you can think about buying an upper-fixer and have the trendy home you foresee.
If you don’t feel comfortable with handywork, your family is reluctant to long lasting contractor's’ work and your budget is too tight, then you’d better consider buying a ready-to-move newer home.
Deep in your heart you already know if buying and old house is something you better take out of your mind. But if you are all-in with the charming neighborhoods, the character traits, the vintage materials, the historical value and the enchanted atmosphere we are here ready to help you get your dream home!
Posted March 09, 2016
by Gabriel Posternak.