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Just Like New: How to Find an Old Home You Won’t Have to Fix

Written by  //  2016/08/11  //  Buying Older Homes  //  No comments

As a general rule, older homes tend to be less expensive than homes that have recently been built. This is partially because older homes may not be energy-efficient, may have older plumbing or electrical work or because they have structural issues. How can you find an older home that is both affordably priced and in good physical condition?

Learn the Difference Between Major and Minor Issues

It is important for a home buyer to know the difference between a serious structural issue and one that is a matter of personal preference. If the foundation has a crack in it or the roof is leaking, those are major issues that could be expensive to repair. However, if the floors are carpeted or there is wallpaper in the kitchen, those are minor issues that you can easily fix or learn to live with.

How to Spot Water Damage in a Home

Water damage can wreak havoc with a home and impact the entire structure from the roof to the foundation. To spot water damage, you should look for any parts of the home where water has pooled such as the basement or attic. You may also notice red or brown streaks where water has soaked a wall and before eventually drying. Mold or mildew are other signs of water damage.

Identifying Pest or Structural Issues

You won’t actually see termites in a home. However, if there are wood shavings or you notice that doors, doorknobs or other wooden structures seem flimsy, it could be because of termites. Signs of a rodent or animal invasion include droppings, nests or actually observing live or dead creatures. A home may have structural issues if you notice carpeting or wallpaper that seems out of place. You may also notice molding, spackle or paint in weird places in an effort to cover up cracks or holes in a floor, wall or ceiling.

Look for Homes That Have Been Updated

There is a chance that a homeowner has taken steps to somewhat update or upgrade an older home. For instance, it may have a new roof, new water heater or central air put in. It may also have new floors or a new exterior paint job in an effort to protect it from the elements. According to the experts at Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty, however, buying a completely renovated or remodeled home may cost you a premium. Instead, look for homes with a healthy foundation and minimal issues—house flippers are looking for a profit, you’re looking for a home.

Ideally, your new home won’t need any renovations after you buy it. While it takes practice, there are generally signs of damage that you can learn to spot before you make an offer on a home. This may increase your chances of buying an older home that is affordable and safe to live in.

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