Homes that need major renovations mean expensive repair costs. Many people don’t have this kind of cash floating around their house, which means they’re going to have to look at special government type loans that include repair expenses. Or, secure a home improvement loan after the property is purchased. If you are looking to buy an old home to restore, this is what you’ll be looking at. Below are some more things that you should expect to look forward to if you wish to buy a fixer-upper.
Can you live in the house while the work is being done? Many older homes were built with toxic chemicals, from paint to insulation. No one knew these were toxic materials until some years ago. This is all going to have to be torn out. So, you’ll have to figure out if there is a safe area in the home you can live in while the work is being performed, if you’re going to have to move. Keep your health in mind, a house isn’t worth risking that.
If your’e buying a home in a historic area, you’re going to have to make sure that the property is not protected by any regulations or preservation requirements that may limit the type and scope of work that can be completed. Many homebuyers forget to do this. Make sure when you look at an old house, that you’re factoring in all of the things that will have to be done to it. Here are some of the problems you should have your eyes open for during the inspection, and also things that you can look for on your own when you initially view the property by yourself with your agent. See: Top Defects to Look Out For When Buying an Older Home.
•Heating and cooling system
•Rotting wood and termite damage
•Roof leaks and damaged gutters
•Doors and windows that need replacing
After you’ve determined which of these issues the home has wrong with it, you’ll need to call a contractor to come over and look at the property and give you an idea of what it will cost. Don’t buy the house without getting a very detailed rough estimate of what you’ll be looking at. You’ll absolutely have to get the house appraised as well. You don’t want to pay too much for a fixer-upper. The appraiser will look at all the comps, and let you know what the house is actually worth.
Do not forget to increase your budget by 14-30% when planning to renovate an older home. Problems come up, and you have to make sure you’ve got extra cash on hand just in case those issues arise. Don’t forget, you’re also going to have to have money to decorate the house as well. No point in restoring a beautiful, grand, historic home and not being able to furnish it! For further reading, try this article about 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying an Old House.