Older houses are so much better than new builds. New houses are all built to the same specifications and they look exactly the same so they don’t have that much character. There are also a lot of problems with the quality of workmanship on new builds recently, so it’s always a risk buying one. But with an older house, you get all of the charm that comes with period properties and it’ll probably cost you a lot less money to buy than a new build. However, older properties do need a bit more care and attention than newer ones before you can move in. You should only buy one if you’re prepared to put the work in and renovate it.
There are certain jobs that need doing when you move into any house, but the challenges involved with older properties are unique. If you’ve never lived in one before, you need to know what you’re letting yourself in for before you buy the place. Here are the things that you’ll need to do when you first move into an old property.
Building materials have changed a lot over the years and there are certain things that we just don’t use anymore because they’re dangerous. However, there are a lot of properties that were built before regulations changed and you might still find some of that nasty stuff in your house somewhere. The 2 main things to look out for are asbestos and lead paint. It was used so much because it’s an incredibly fire resistant material, but if the fibers in it get into the air and you breathe them in, it can cause some serious health issues. The most common places that you’ll find asbestos in an older property are around the pipes as insulation or in the floor. It’s dangerous to handle it yourself so it’s always best to get some professionals in to check whether there is any asbestos anywhere and get rid of it for you. It can get pretty pricey to remove asbestos so ideally you want to know whether there is any in the house before you agree to buy it and consider finding somewhere else.
Lead paint is the other thing to watch out for because if it starts peeling, it can be very harmful. You can get kits to test for lead paint yourself by taking a small chip out of it. It’s fine to do that yourself but if you do find that there is lead paint, you shouldn’t try to remove it yourself. It’s far safer to have professionals with experience do it for you. Once you’ve cleared out the dangerous materials, you’ll have to start replacing them with modern, safer materials.
Pests love to get into all of the nooks and crannies in a house and in an older property, there are a lot more places for them to hide. Some pests like termites can cause serious structural damage to the house if left unchecked and that’s going to cost you a lot of money to fix. Others will just make it uncomfortable to live in the house. Nobody wants to share their new home with cockroaches so you need to do something about it right away. Call in a professional company like ABC Pest Control and get them to clear out all of the pests. They’ll need to use some pretty harsh chemicals to fumigate the house if there are a lot of pests around so you’ll need to do it before you move in. Once the pests are out of the house, you need to take measures to make sure that they don’t come back. That means making repairs to the exterior of the house so there aren’t any holes for pests to get into the house.
Foundation problems are more common in older houses and you should always check whether there are any before you buy. If they’re severe, you should think twice about buying the place because it’s going to be expensive and time consuming to fix. But if the foundation issues aren’t too bad, you can fix them before you move in. Look out for cracks in the walls because they’re an indication of structural issues in a house. If it’s just a few small cracks, you might not have to do any work but if you’ve got some large cracks running through the entire house, you’re going to have to call a contractor to help you fix it.
The amount of appliances and electrical devices that people use these days is a lot more than people used when your house was first built. That means that the electrics in older properties are usually not equipped to handle that level of usage. You’ve got 2 choices here; you could either stop using all of the electronic devices that you normally use or you could upgrade the electronics in the house so they can handle a modern day level of usage. If you think you can get around it and just use the electronics as they are, you’re wrong. It might work and you might be able to power all of your devices, but you’ll be putting a lot of strain on the wiring and they’re likely to set on fire. If you want your new house to be safe, you need to get an electrician in to replace all of the wiring with a modern system.
Problems with the roof need to be sorted right away, otherwise, they’ll cause more damage throughout the house. When water leaks in through the roof, it’ll run down the walls and you’ll end up with damp and mold everywhere. If that happens, you’ll end up paying out a load of money to fix that as well as sorting the roof out. If there are only small holes, you might be able to get away with fixing single tiles but if there is more extensive damage to the roof, you’ll probably have to replace the entire thing. Don’t try to cut corners when you’re repairing the roof on your house because it’ll only come back to bite you later on. It’s far more sensible to spend the money once and do a proper job than keep repairing it over and over again.
Modern houses are connected to the water mains and there aren’t usually any problems with the water supply. But when you move into an older house, it’s a different story. If you’re lucky, the previous owners will have already upgraded the water supply for you. If not, there’s a chance that it might still be using an old fashioned well for water. The problem with a well is that the water can easily become contaminated and unsafe to drink. Having a well is a nice idea but it isn’t very safe or practical. The first thing to do is get a well test done. This will tell you whether the water is safe to drink or not. If it isn’t, you’ll have to sort it out. In some cases, you’ll be able to get the house connected to the mains, but that isn’t always possible. In that case, you’ll have to modernize the well and put a drilled one in, rather than a hand dug one. It’ll go a lot deeper so there is less chance of the water getting contaminated and you can be sure that your water supply is safe to drink.
You’re going to have to do all of these jobs before you can even move into an older property so keep that in mind before making any decisions.