For some people, the appeal of an older home property is overwhelming. Complete with character, vintage features, and their own stories to tell, older properties certainly have the edge over the many formulaic newer builds and contemporary housing. However, choosing to buy an older property isn’t without its complications – least of all when it comes to the financial concerns that overshadow many antiquated homes.
The common concerns related to buying an older property
Your new home or investment purchase may look sound on the outside, but what’s going on behind closed doors? Issues frequently associated with older properties include crumbling foundations, unsteady sills, and sliding roof tiles, while faulty wiring, asbestos, lead paint and pipework, and damp could be lurking behind a quaint, vintage façade. If you’re not careful, you could end up paying through the nose to complete relatively simple tasks – particularly if you bury your head in the sand rather than facing such issues. Other concerns relating to older properties include insects and pests, ancient heating and water systems, and poorly completed renovation work, as well as poor energy efficiency caused by vaulted ceilings and a lack of insulation. How much will it cost you to rectify such problems? Do you have the money standing by?
When it comes to buying an older property, there are some things that you should know, and must definitely think about – least of all the high cost of insuring your new home, and replacing and repairing worn and broken fixtures and fittings. Older homes are beautiful and blessed with bags of potential, but they can also cause your finances to spiral beyond control. Don’t allow your new property to become a black hole that your savings leap into, never to be seen again.
What can you do to safeguard your savings and create a wonderful new home to live in, or sell on?
Enlist the services of a structural engineer
Prior to purchasing a property, enlist the services of a structural engineer or surveyor, who will be able to tell you more about the building. Major issues, including cracks, crumbling, and subsidence, will become clear immediately, while minor or cosmetic issues should also show up. Such a survey will enable you to make an informed decision about the property that you’re about to buy, and give you some idea of what it will cost to put everything right, should you proceed with the sale.
Purchase a comprehensive warranty and insurance
Compare the cost of repairing damage versus insurance fees; the likelihood is that purchasing comprehensive home warranty insurance is going to cost you far less than choosing to ignore glaring problems. Insurance is absolutely vital for older properties – particularly if you’ve been made aware of looming or potential issues. Wouldn’t you like the reassurance of knowing that you’re covered and financially protected should the worst happen?
Invest in your new property
If you’re to keep future costs down, it’s essential to invest money into your older property today; by spending smaller sums now, you could dramatically reduce the costs of repairs and replacements further down the line. Your older property will no doubt benefit from insulation, which should keep your energy bills down. Similarly, you’ll want to treat damp, fill cracks and holes, and repair broken fixtures before costs begin to spiral. Make a list of the work that needs doing, and prioritize its completion depending upon your budget.
Treat your home with love
Older properties are prone to damage caused by the elements, and to impairment instigated by continued aging. As well as investing money in your new property, it’s also a good idea to show it a little love every now and again. Treat and protect fixtures and fittings against weathering and wear and tear, and commit to keeping on top of all minor maintenance tasks as and when they occur. Doing so will prevent those little niggles from getting any bigger, or costlier, as time marches on.
Try to maintain a savings pot
You’re doing all you can to protect your interests and keep your new home up and running, but things can and often will go wrong – that’s simply part of owning a home, whether you’ve bought an older property or a new build. Whenever and wherever your budget will allow, make sure that you’re saving a little each month in case of an emergency. The chances are that you’ll never need such a large sum, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that it’s there just in case?
Buying an older property is your opportunity to own a piece of history – to embrace, restore, and add value to a home that has seen so, so much in its lifetime. While there are numerous issues and financial pitfalls to consider before diving into your savings, there’s no reason why your new house shouldn’t become the home or investment goldmine of your dreams.