Potential homeowners might be tempted to buy an older fixer-upper in order to save a few bucks. Although the prospect can be appealing, there are variables to every situation. Here are a few factors you should consider before taking the plunge.
First, the good news. Since older homes didn’t have to compete for as much lot space when they were built, they usually come with more land. Even if the house itself is small, a large lot will make it easier for you to consider remodeling projects — even a large-scale expansion.
Some old houses might have more space than you think you’ll need, especially farmhouses that were built to host large families. Think about how you might be able to improve that space if given the chance. You could open up several rooms into one to create a home gym or theater or configure the area to include a separate apartment that can be used to generate rental income.
Of course, older houses have also been subjected to more wear and tear. Even if the property has a solid structure, there’s a good chance it will require major surgery at some point down the road, and possibly sooner rather than later. With old homes, even driveways will require repair if they are old enough. Before making an offer, find out when certain features were last replaced, particularly the roof, boiler and plumbing fixtures. Don’t be afraid to crawl under the sinks to check for signs of mold or water damage. Moving into a house that has these issues can turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth.
Location is another aspect to consider and one in which old houses will typically have the edge over their more recently built counterparts. Since older homes were typically situated closer to town, there’s a good chance you’ll be within walking distance to the local shops and restaurants. There’s usually a stronger sense of community, too, with neighbors who have known each other for years. These benefits will also make the house more appealing to potential buyers if you’re planning on reselling the property.
Buying an older home isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t handy with a hammer and saw, or if you prefer the convenience of modern built-in appliances, then the investment probably won’t be worth it. If you’re willing to put in the extra work, however, you might find buying an old house to be the best financial decision you ever made.
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