Renovating Your Old House:-Today’s housing market is friendly to older homes. More millennials are renting than previous generations, and that has led to a surge in demand for homes with character.
Combine those trends with the fact that many first-time homebuyers can’t afford new construction and you have an opportunity for people interested in buying an old house and giving it new life.
But renovating an older home requires different skills and considerations than building a new one, so prospective buyers need to do their homework before diving into such a project.
Before you sign on the dotted line, here are seven things you should know before renovating your old house.
Renovating Your Old House
1) Renovating Your Old House:- Know your home’s history
Before you purchase, try to find out as much as you can about the previous occupants and the history of the property. You don’t have to call the police and ask them to investigate the property,
but there are lots of things you can learn with a little curiosity and due diligence. You can start with the property history. Many counties have this information online.
You can also call the county clerk’s office and find out if there are any liens on the property. You can also call the utility companies to find out if the home has ever been connected to their services.
If it has, you can use the addresses listed to research records online.
You may find names of former residents and discover that the house has a history of bad repairs or other issues that may indicate problems for you.
2) Renovating Your Old House:- Estimate the cost of renovations
Estimating renovations costs is tricky, but you can reasonable guesstimate based on similar projects you’ve completed before.
If this is your first renovation, consider hiring a contractor to do a rough estimate for you. You can also try estimating using online renovation cost calculators, such as this one from HomeAdvisor.
Keep in mind that renovations are more expensive than new construction for a variety of reasons, so expect to spend a little more than your guesstimate.
For example, you may need to replace rotten wood that would have been salvageable on a new house. You may also have to replace electrical wiring or plumbing that is past its useful life.
You may also need to replace the foundation or make other structural or environmental upgrades that new construction does not require.
3) Renovating Your Old House:- Renovation quality and warranty issues
If you decide to buy an older home and renovate it, be aware that you may have fewer legal rights than a new construction buyer.
If you discover hidden defects in the home after you purchase it, you may have limited legal recourse. Some state laws allow you to recover the cost of repairs only if you can prove the seller knew about the problem and didn’t disclose it.
Some jurisdictions have “implied warranty of habitability” laws that protect buyers of all ages, but most don’t. You can help protect yourself by hiring a quality contractor who can get the job done right the first time.
You can also consider hiring an inspector to walk through the house before you make an offer. An inspector can tell you what needs to be done and by whom.
so you can use that information to negotiate repairs when you make an offer. You’ll also have a record of needed repairs for later reference.
4) Renovating Your Old House:- Determine if you’re restoring or rebuilding
If your research reveals that the home is beyond repair, you can walk away from the deal and start looking for another house.
But if it’s a candidate for a restoration project, you can make an offer and secure the house for a lower price. If the seller is aware that the house is a candidate for demolition, he or she may accept a lower offer or even take a cash offer for less than the appraised value.
Keep in mind that even if you have to start over, you can build a new house to suit your needs. That’s different from buying a new construction home.
which is mass-produced and doesn’t meet your specific needs, such as a larger master bedroom or a more private backyard.
5) Renovating Your Old House:- Think about long-term value
If you’re buying a property with the intent of living in it for the long term, you have to think about the home’s long-term value as well as its initial price.
A home that is unique and attractive to future buyers is likely to see a higher resale value than a plain vanilla box.
On the other hand, you may get a break on your mortgage payments if you buy a plain vanilla box. The plain vanilla box, though, may be less expensive to purchase and to maintain over the long term.
You’ll want to factor in long-term costs like maintenance, repairs, upgrades, and other expenses that add to a home’s cost of ownership over time.
6) Renovating Your Old House:- Don’t skimp on a good contractor
You can find plenty of people willing to do renovations for less than their true cost, but those projects are often plagued by poor workmanship and cost overruns.
When you hire contractors, don’t just consider the initial quote; also look at their track record. Ask for customer references, and interview a few before making a final decision.
Get a written quote that includes a timeline and an estimate of all expenses, including materials, contractor fees, and other costs.
You can also consider hiring a general contractor to manage the project. A general contractor can oversee the entire process, including hiring subcontractors and managing their work.
That may cost more, but if it means better work with fewer headaches, it’s worth the cost.
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Like many aspects of home ownership, renovating an older home comes with challenges, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.
The best way to approach it is to carefully estimate renovation costs, hire a reputable contractor, and make sure you have a plan for upkeep and repairs after the project is complete.
Don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal, and make sure you do your homework before you sign on the dotted line.