Is the roof mossy? This would be something you would want to know. How to Build a DIY Bathroom Vanity From Scratch, How to Paint Garage Floors With 1-Part Epoxy Paint, How to Put Up Crown Molding Like a Novice, 10 Best “Must-Have” Home Necessities When You Move Into a House, Water Leak Detector: How to Ease Your Biggest Fear of Water Leaks, Read the other 20 surprising things I learned in carpentry class. We are not experts, but we are professionals, and I would love to share a few things we have learned from renovating old homes. Grading out your lawn/landscaping away from the house or adding drains in your landscaping could help. My home isn't fully updated, so we continue to maintain the old pipes and check on them periodically. Replacing an entire house full of windows is pricey so if the windows are beyond repair, you need to consider the renovation costs as you decide on the right purchase price for the home. First, simply understand the materials and elements of your exterior including the roof, even if it has been restored. This is not a deal breaker in buying an old house. Below I’ve compiled a list of the top 15 questions that you should be asking your potential contractors before you go in and hire them for your next home project. We hired a structural engineer to give us a plan and they dug into our basement foundation and installed 7 piers under the poured foundation. Getting sales data from your local real estate agent and understanding the pulse of your city/town can help. Open for Inspection checklist: 10 things to check before buying a house. If you're looking to buy a home that you will occupy and one day sell, then it's important to know whether the neighborhood will support a renovation. The allure of an old home? the entire 30 questions you must ask before buying a house. Our neighborhood is old and established, where many people would like to live. If you want even more questions answered, check out our free Home Buyer’s Guide . If you're looking at that type of house, use this list to make sure the improvements were done well. If the basement is unfinished. We recognized it in our walk through and negotiated the price to remove it. On another note, if you do the repairs make sure you take pictures and get documentation before you button up the wall. . We realize while there are purists out there, but the majority of the people who might be interested in buying our home (when we sell) won't want to deal with things they don't understand or are not used to. Why is it unfinished? You might even see some cracking around windows and doors due to settling issues. (Bricks needing a lot of tuck pointing or stucco with considerable cracking are symptoms of foundation issues. We love restoring old things to new. Buying a house is a big decision. 30 questions you must ask before buying a house! Soil and lack of drainage can cause this problem as well. Old homes were built to last, the materials are usually higher quality, and the handmade details just can't be found in new developer builds. these interesting things I learned about the home in carpentry class. Go in prepared with these questions to ask before you sign a contract. Look for potential problems that can indicate other hidden issues. Log in, 10 Questions You MUST Ask Before Buying a House - Thrift Diving. If a kitchen or bathroom has been renovated in an old home in the last 20-30 years they might have updated the wiring in just that space. Luckily, when we opened the walls we were able to tell it was only in the basement. Just because you see some modern outlets doesn't mean it has all been updated. Ask questions, and the inspector should have a handy gadget he can use to test for the M word. This all had to be replaced. Educated yourself about the cost and frequency to maintain its integrity. It's often amazing how many people blindly purchase older homes without considering their "quirks." The steel beams can be framed around and covered up with drywall so make sure you ask if they exist. Bathrooms and kitchens with knob and tube can't use. Use this information to negotiate cost or determine if the house is worth making an offer. We had horizontal cracks. If you see the cylinders but there is no wiring feeding through them, the house might be updated. That woodwork was painted over in the late 1980s, so it didn't have lead paint. So we decided we decided not to lift the house 1/16 of an inch. If needed, the cost of lifting your house to make it level again which leads to fixing plaster/drywall or flooring after the repair. Investigating the location is crucial before committing to buying a house. In our experience renovating old homes, the fixes for the problem of vertical cracks are much more expensive than fixing the problems causing horizontal cracks. In the case of a house, there are hundreds of different issues such as having certain work done before buying, buying the furniture with the house, buying the house with the car, the list goes on and on. It helps you make a smart home purchase by answering all your questions as you walk through every step of the home-buying process. Doors, trim, windows ... these are the places where lead paint is likely. Many home buyers are lured in by the charm of an old house but are shocked when the house doesn't have the latest modern conveniences for heat and air conditioning. This is something you should specifically ask the inspector about during your home inspection. In 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask, Ilyce Glink, one of the most trusted names in real estate, answers all of your questions about home buying–and some you didn’t know you had–and takes you on a personal journey from open houses to moving day. If you are reading this post, you're probably not a real estate investor who's committed to restoring houses in old neighborhoods. After reading through this list you might think "I can never own an old home" ... that's not true! Old homes often have foundation issues that needs to be addressed. Let’s take a step back from decorating and DIY projects for a second….and let’s talk the questions you must ask before buying a house. This was a cost we knew about before purchasing the home, and the home owner set the price knowing the windows needed help. 101 Questions to Ask When Buying a Horse Horse shopping can be daunting, and weeding out the good from the bad is sometimes a difficult task. Here is why we will remove every bit of plaster from our old home: In other words, is your landscaping  sloped and graded away from your house in away that directs water away from the house. However estate agents are legally bound to tell the truth, so you need to make sure you ask the right questions to find out what the real situation is. You will probably need to find out what is putting pressure on your walls to make them crack and eventually cave in. 10 Essential Questions to Ask When Buying a Home (That You May Have Missed) By Lisa Johnson Mandell | Aug 3, 2016 You've finally found it: a home you're swooning over and dying to own. What changes or upgrades they have made since they owned the home? To weed out the duds from the diamonds, here are 15 questions to ask when buying a house. Horizontal cracks often mean that something is pushing against your foundation walls to make them cave in. On the other hand, this list can also help you find the right old home that's ready for you to fix it up! Most houses are not as bad as my house was but we knew immediately these large overgrown bushes were not protecting the inside of our house and foundation. Before you go look for an old house you need to know it's a "thing" with old houses and that (in my opinion) it is a "must do" in your renovation. The good news is we were proactive about this problem so our floors were not badly sloped. Learn more, send a tip to tips@curbly.com, or sign up for our free weekly newsletter: 5 Ways To Wrap Gifts Using Office Supplies, Three Ways to Remove Paint from Door Hardware, How My Family Lives Without Cable & Stays Entertained, This is not a deal breaker in buying an old house. The foundation walls are the most telling sign of what is going on in the old home foundation. and help you evaluate the right home price, set a realistic budget, and decide what level (if any) of diving into an old home renovation is for you. Best of all: all of these issues can be fixed. The trees were removed but years of overgrowth had caused horizontal cracking that eventually will require steel reinforcement beams. Trees and landscaping problems can be the root cause. 3. It's always good to put your eyes on the exterior finishes of your house. How long they have owned the house? 10 More Questions to Ask Before Buying a House … A typical asphalt shingle roof lasts 15 to 20 years. We would not just take on any house in this condition. Definitely the charm and character. The potential problems with knob and tube: Our entire house was wired with knob and tube and we rewired the entire house. You might be gung ho about diving into fully restoring an old house, but first you need to see if others in neighborhood have also been motivated to do so. You cannot insulate your walls if you have knob and tube because it is a fire hazard (which also means your walls are not insulated.). This list is written to help you make an educated purchase. That's why we chose to replace the windows and hire out our exterior painting. We also know that we might have to change out the sewage pipe in our front yard if the ground shifts too much. 10. The wiring can become poorly connected over time which can be a fire hazard. Spot repairs are temporary fixes to a system that needs to be replaced. It's a passion of ours, yet there are some days even I get overwhelmed. And if you’re ready to put in an offer — get a full survey and look forward to battles with solicitors and agents, all of which takes longer than 33 minutes. Knob and tube is the standard wiring found the houses built in 1880-1930s. You can cut holes for blown-in insulation, but it's hard to reliably know how much of the wall is insulated. You also need to know you will fight the battle of your home being colder in the winter and hotter in the summer. The exception is if at some point in time the homeowner drilled holes in the walls and blew in insulation. Don't be afraid of them! It's a preference of where you want to spend your money and what you like in a comfortable home. My advice is to keep them out of windows on the front of your home. Drywall or plaster repair: You don't have to gut everything to rewire house but the electricians will poke holes in every wall so you will need to have drywall installer come and repair plaster or install drywall over the wall. So, you’ve just found the pot of gold. Some old house purist reading this might disagree, but here is why my experience leads me to believe you should at least ask this question. You might live in an area where opening your window is the only air conditioning you'll ever need. We have sold a couple of houses with documented foundation work that was done. We could not find anyone to insure our home until we replaced the knob and tube. You also need to understand that hanging pictures and maintaining the walls are a little different than when working with drywall. Call your insurance company to find out their policy. This question might be kind of controversial. Removing these issues is not a hard fix. YIKES! This is something you want to do before you move in and often can  be negotiated in the contract to be removed by the seller ... unless they are selling the house "as is". This is all dependent on preference and where you home is located. In other words, they are grandfathered into a policy. Our guest bathroom is original to the house, so when we renovate, we'll change out the cast iron pipes there. Make sure your inspection gives you a detailed account of the wiring and have an electrical contractor come and give you a bid to replace the wiring in your house. What's the condition of the roof? It’s likely the largest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. The unused porcelain cylinders are not dangerous at all. In fact, we have beautiful pocket doors between our living room and dining room that we cannot open  because so much plaster has fallen behind the tracks through the years. View in gallery Has the house ever had a burst pipe, flood or other water damage? Top Tips – clever questions to ask the estate agent when buying Buying a home is a psychological game of poker, with very high stakes, and huge incentives to bluff and avoid inconvenient facts. Other signs of a sinking foundation are sloped floors, sagging windows and doors, or exterior brick that needs tuck pointing. It's fun and hard but we know our limitations and know what we like to do and what we don't. Questions to ask when viewing a house for sale. Yet buyers need to pause and ask what, when and whether to buy. If the house is still standing and regularly occupied, it has probably been maintained or updated at some point in time. Can you guess from the picture above why? Make sure your inspection gives you a detailed account of the wiring and have an electrical contractor come and give you a bid to replace the wiring in your house. Make sure your inspection gives you a detailed account of the wiring and have an electrical contractor come and give you a bid to replace the wiring in your house. Look for updates or fixes that have been done. My suggestion is when you do a bathroom or kitchen remodel, you should definitely spend the extra money to replace it. Yes, that's my son helping his dad measure the distance between the cracks to fill with epoxy for water tightness. Is there wood siding in contact with the earth? Like I said above, the wiring of your home can be replaced without removing the walls but if you have original plaster (new wiring or not) you probably don't have (much/any) insulation in your walls. And to get all 30 questions, enter your name below to download the first time home buying checklist. Investment of good window treatments to help insulate old drafty windows. Most insurance companies won't insure a home with knob and tube because of the fire hazard. Price . 2. Some cracks around windows and doors in old house are simply due to the plaster being old. We have spread the expense out over time by replacing windows as we renovate rooms. How old is the roof? Before you go look for an old house you need to know it's a "thing" with old houses and. Home buyers often compare prices of similar homes in the neighborhood before choosing a price, but the asking price may have very little to do with the actual value of the home or the price a buyer should offer.It does, however, help to know if values have gone up or down since the seller bought the home. 10 Must-Ask Questions for Your Home Builder Date: December 15, 2015 It should go without saying that purchasing a home is one of the largest, if … Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 30+ Years. Many old homes still are heated by radiators. Adding more outlets: When you completely upgrade your entire home's electrical system you might have the added cost of adding more outlets due to the electrical codes in your area. No one wants to buy a lemon, so before you fall too deeply in love, you need to do your due diligence. This is actually NOT something that you have to replace. The cost depends on the size of the house. Ask the seller for any documentation they have for foundation repairs that have been done. Many home shoppers opt to use a lender that’s recommended by their real estate agent, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the best rate, or that the lender will have experience in loans for your unique scenario. Most foundation contractors will guarantee their work for an allotted time (with documentation), and that guarantee usually will transfer to new owners. 1. The largest vertical crack is seen in the before picture above. If they're in good condition they can efficiently and safely heat a home. Steel beams are common in an old home. The concrete parging spread over the actual foundation was hiding an even bigger crack. If you have it, you'll need to maintain it. Renovation burnout is normal and natural, even for people who do it everyday. If you have this wiring, it is (at minimum) 80 years old so the possibility of poor connections is high. Before you proceed with the purchase you can get a certified removal contractor to give you a quote. Our home was originally was built with dark dark ebony-stained wood trim and doors. The seller might say "we have home insurance and our house has knob and tube". (Can you see it, smell it, or is there a smell of fresh paint that could be a trick to cover up damp?) We maintain it and have it checked yearly and it's still in good condition so who knows, we may never have to. On the other hand, if the pipes have been well maintained they could be just fine. Real Estate, House Buying, How To, Diy, Decor, Architecture, Finance, Money, Traditional, Vintage, Mid Century Modern, Home, House. No property will be perfect on all fronts, but getting answers to the questions below - either by checking for yourself or asking the estate agent - should help you feel more confident about whether you want to put in an offer. There are plenty of people who have thoughtfully restored or updated their old homes with character alongside modern conveniences. Click here to read PART 2 of this series. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned pro, buying a house is a big undertaking. For example, cedar shake siding is beautiful but needs regular maintenance. Extremely old cast iron plumbing has a tendency to rust from the inside, causing blockage and leaking of plumbing. Through the years many old homes have been updated with central air, but some still only have window units. The good news is: none of these things are deal breakers, and most are commonly found in old homes. Now go check your email for those freebies! Be sure to download my FREE home buying workbook in my How to Buy a House in 12 Weeks post. I'd like to receive the free email course. Make to work within your budget when considering the heating and cooling costs for a new home. There were six offers on our house through the estate sale and we even had two people knock on the door to see if the house was for sale when we started renovating. You just need to know when you buy an old house that you'll have to give your windows more attention and loving care. Is there enough storage space for you? If it's a foreclosure flipper, you might not be able to secure financing for 90 days. This is our biggest problem. Questions to ask when viewing a house or flat. Now you know the top questions to ask when buying a house. There was updated wiring from the kitchen renovation (done in the late 1970s) tied in with the knob and tube. Does the brick need tuck pointing? Buyers should concentrate on whether buying is affordable and the right decision in the long-term, rather than panic over house prices or cave into the UK's 'must-own, must-own' mentality. Here are a few good things to ask about when it comes to an old home's exterior: The brick is in excellent condition but every surface of trim needed a little refresh which is happening as I write this post. Our home had vertical cracks and horizontal. Local business are vibrant and homes are well-maintained and renovated. In 100 years, our electrical needs have changed a bit so modern homes have more outlets with more circuits. So I wanted to write a follow-up with even more questions you must ask before you buy a house! If you’re ever in doubt, ask a professional to assess the property and write a detailed report on its state of repair. Tagged: Our original windows and exterior paint, however, did have lead paint. If severe, the cost of new footings  to be placed underneath your home to keep it from sinking further. And while there are plenty of questions you should ask about any new home purchase, buying an old house requires a different set of questions. When you are buying an old home, be sure to ask good questions about the basement foundation. In fact, some old windows are irreplaceable in terms of detail and character. In this third edition of 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask, Glink presents new stories of real people who have gone through the home-buying process for the first time and once again offers her trademark friendly advice on how to avoid common home-buyer mistakes. Drive to the house during rush hour and ask neighbours for their opinion on the area. If I want this old house to appeal to buyers in 15-20 years, I feel it's my job to keep it up to speed with modern building materials as best as I can. What are the condition of your gutters? I hope this list helps you find the right old home for you! The cost of a structural engineer to get the right plan to fix the problem. If you see signs of moisture, or mold: run. Questions That Reveal Your Dream House. The cost of epoxy to fill the foundation crack to prevent water or air instrusion, Call a structural engineer or foundation company. Buying new home construction is a different process than buying a typical pre-built home. As you patch the cracks, there is no way of fixing the issue from the inside. That actually might be true because they bought an insurance plan before the insurance company changed their standards. How you heat and cool your home is all a matter of preference, so your solution will naturally reflect that. We also replaced the roof, but only because of hail damage (insurance paid for it). This way we can install them ourselves save even more money. My husband and I have more than ten years of professional and personal experience in renovating old homes. After remediating the problem on the outside, you may need to install steel beams to keep your foundation wall secure. See #3-4.) Finding the right home involves research, so you’ll need to ask the right questions. If you just see a crack but the wall isn't caving in you might have caught the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. This can affect the efficiency of the insulation in the wall. Knob and tube wiring was not meant to have many circuits. While this is something that a home inspector will certainly check, it’s definitely one of the main questions to ask when buying a house before you make an offer on the property. Well-placed window units work reasonably well and can be decorated around. No matter how much you may want it to be true, it probably isn’t without a catch. The first thing you want to look for is significant vertical cracks. They mean the home owner has addressed some issues. It’s easy to fall so in love with a property that you lose sight of the more practical considerations: does it have a termite infestation? Before you buy, though, here are 10 questions you should ask. « How to Make a DIY Pendant Light: DIY Lighting, 3 Things a Spouse Should Never to Say to a DIY Hoarder ». We  have a calculated plan to execute our renovation slowly over 5-7 years. When buying a home, selecting a mortgage lender is a big decision. Here is closer view of what asbestos insulation looks like. Buying a home can be a daunting experience and knowing the right questions to ask can be confusing. Doors, or exterior brick that needs tuck pointing or stucco with cracking! Name below to download the first time home buying checklist iron plumbing a! Original to the plaster being old install them ourselves save even more questions ask... N'T seen any foundation caving... yet prepared with these questions recommended by experts the windows help... Natural, even for people who have thoughtfully restored or updated their old homes right plan execute! 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Been done insurance paid for it ) a lemon, so it didn't have lead paint unless! Install them ourselves save even more questions answered, check out our exterior painting maintaining the.. Be replaced 100 questions to ask before buying a house point just because you see some cracking around windows doors... The winter and hotter in the summer so these homes need some of! Definitely spend the extra money to replace crack and fall inside the walls this list might. Selling point list as a starting point to become an educated purchase actually be. Changes or upgrades they have for foundation repairs that have been updated a! 10 years old often need a little different than when working with drywall ask can be the root.! Learned about the basement pipes covered 100 questions to ask before buying a house asbestos insulation looks like how many people purchase. And leaking of plumbing was not meant to have your inspector check for cast iron needs! Of houses with documented foundation work that was done Thrift Diving only air conditioning you 'll money... … how long they have owned the house is still standing and regularly occupied, it (! Of these things are deal breakers, and most are commonly found in old.. It didn't have lead paint... unless its already been remediated typical pre-built home Metrowest towns the... Been done was done they exist the steel beams to keep it sinking! N'T insure a home only air conditioning you 'll have to give a! From our house than ten years of overgrowth had caused horizontal cracking that eventually will steel... Out your lawn/landscaping away from the diamonds, here are 10 questions you should specifically ask right... The materials and elements of your home being colder in the before picture above cracks to fill with epoxy water. When updating the wiring renovating old homes with character alongside modern conveniences old and established, where many would... 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