Buying an old house has always been a risky investment. Sure, you will save money upfront, but you should know that the vast majority of old properties come with some hidden costs. However, even with these hidden problems, buying an old house can still be better than buying a brand new one; you just have to count in the additional repair costs and see whether it’s still more cost-effective.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most common problems that might arise with an old house, as well as how to deal with them.
If you are buying a house that was built before the 1960s, chances are that it will have outdated plumbing. In fact, all of the houses from this period used galvanized pipes, which are prone to corrosion and clog up much easier.
But don’t worry; this problem is relatively easy to solve, and it won’t cost you more than a $1.000. You just need to replace the old pipes with new PVC or copper ones. Of course, the best way to go about this is to hire professional contractors. Furthermore, you can pair this renovation project with another one to cut down on the expenses.
Many older homes are built with what are now illegal and hazardous materials. For example, asbestos was a very common construction material in Australian houses. From the World War II until the early 2000s, asbestos was a part of almost every building in Brisbane. It was durable, required little maintenance, and most importantly, it was cheap. However, now we know how unhealthy it really is, and that’s why it has received a worldwide ban.
Unfortunately, some Brisbane homes, especially the ones built before the 1990s, are still laced with it. If you live in that area, you should test your home for asbestos. Keep in mind that this is not something that you should do by yourself. Asbestos is extremely dangerous, and even the smallest direct exposure to it can cause serious health problems. Fortunately, there are many professional companies offering asbestos testing in Brisbane. First, they will carefully inspect your home for asbestos materials with special equipment. Second, if asbestos is found, they will take the sample for further inspection. Finally, once all tests are done, your contractors will begin the removal process, during which you will have to vacate your home.
Insulation standards were different just a decade ago, not to mention in the 1990s, 80s, and so on. If you are buying a vintage house, be prepared to invest a little bit extra money into better noise and heat insulation.
Start by hiring an engineer to inspect your home for insulation weak spots. If they find any, you can proceed with the renovation works. Changing or adding a new layer of insulation means that you will have to tear down your walls. So, this is the perfect time to change your outdated pipes as well.
Old buildings, including houses, oftentimes suffer from some kind of structural damage. This can be anything from compromised foundations to termite damage. Termites, in particular, can cause massive damage to the wooden parts of your house.
To get rid of them, you will have to hire a professional exterminator. Once they are all gone, you will have to repair the damaged wood. The safest, but also the most expensive option is to completely change your affected wooden surfaces. And the best way is to use treated lumber to prevent future termite problems.
Finally, the most serious problem that you can find in old houses is bad foundations. If you have a crooked floor or spot some cracks in the floor, that home is probably beyond repair. However, in some rare cases, the damage can still be repaired, but it will cost you quite a bit.
Even though these problems might sound frightening to you, sometimes even with them, old houses are a better investment. Just remember to add all potential renovation expenses to the price, and make sure that it’s still more cost-effective than buying a new one.
[su_box title=”About The Author” box_color=”#777b8a”]
Will Sandford is a Sydney based wood architect, blogger, and contributor on interior design and ecology blogs. Besides that, he is also interested in home improvement combined with green technology. In his spare time, Will enjoys surfing and rock climbing. He is a regular contributor to SmoothDecorator website. [/su_box]