Important Things to Consider When Buying an Older Home | homify
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Important Things to Consider When Buying an Older Home

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Ramsden House, Peterculter, Aberdeen Mediterranean style houses by Roundhouse Architecture Ltd Mediterranean
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Buying a new home has become a matter of going through a catalogue and finding one that suit your lifestyle requirements. These homes are often designed for the ‘average; or ‘normal’ family. After going through the styles of new homes, they may begin to look the same, and they often are. If you are looking for something a bit unique and a little bit more romantic, you may want to consider buying an older home. Older homes have many great advantages, the walls are often thicker, the styles are classic and features such as open fireplaces and natural timber beams. It is wonderful to think that a house can have a former life, and sometimes many lives before it has been passed along to you. As you sit before the crackling fireplace you can imagine the generations of people who have sat by the same fireplace. Although along with these advantages there are many less advantageous aspects of old houses that you must consider before buying one of these charismatic beauties. homify has taken a look at what you should consider before purchasing an older home.

Older Technologies and Building Materials

Ramsden House, Peterculter, Aberdeen Mediterranean style houses by Roundhouse Architecture Ltd Mediterranean
Roundhouse Architecture Ltd

Ramsden House, Peterculter, Aberdeen

Roundhouse Architecture Ltd

People often fall in love with an older home based on its outer appearance. This is easy to do as these homes were often built by craftsmen who created ornate wooden staircases, detailed ceiling cornices and sturdy wooden floorboards. While these details may be wonderful to live with, these very items may make it difficult to modernise your home. When considering an older home, consider what modern conveniences you will need in your day to day life. If you need modern lighting, more bathrooms or modern electronics these can be easily installed? It may require making invasive alterations to the home, causing major disruptions and can often be costly.  It is important that you factor in these additional costs when considering buying an older home.

The Romantic Appeal of the Older Home

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The idea of an older homes can often be based on romantic notions. Their appeal is created by a number of stunning traditional features including high ceilings, polished wooden floorboards and large rooms. These homes were often built at a time when companies bought up entire tracks of land for development, which meant that this type of homes will be found throughout the street or suburb. So it is not just the individual home that you are purchasing, but the enchanting neighbourhood that the home is situated in; established gardens, wide streets and tall trees. These charming neighbourhoods can be difficult to replicate in a new neighbourhood. This has positive and negative implications as the people who live here may be less likely to accept modern changes. Consider talking to neighbours in the area you wish to live in before purchasing a home in the area. This will give you an idea of the neighbourhood. 

Will You Need to Make Changes to your Older Home?

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Older homes were often built in an era when lifestyles were dramatically different to today. They were built with distinct spaces for different purposes, the kitchen for cooking, the dining room for eating, the living space for relaxing and the formal lounge for entertaining. These days we have entirely different lifestyles and therefore use the house in a different way. The separate rooms in the house have merged into large multiuse spaces; the kitchen, dining and living areas have merged into one large space. If you have fallen in love with an older home, consider any changes or remodeling that will be required for the home to fit into your modern lifestyle. Will you be happy with one family bathroom or do you need an ensuite? Will you convert the living spaces into one larger combined space? This floor was created by Quick Step

Can you Get Insurance?

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When buying an older home it is wonderful to imagine the life that it has lived in the past. It has so many secrets that it can be hiding, although these may not always be good ones. Older homes can often have hazards caused by older structures and fittings, from old plumbing, electrical work and foundations. These can sometimes cause major issues such as fires or flooding. This is why it can be difficult to insure. Insurance agencies are aware of the risks associated with older homes and can sometimes charge huge amounts to insure such properties. Before investing in an older home It may be best to consult insurance agencies to find out if they will insure an older home and what it will cost.

Priorities of Older Homes

When considering buying an older home it is important to be aware of some of the most common issues arising from these homes. In older homes it is often the roof and the windows that deteriorate the fastest. A leaking roof or window can cause extensive damage to the interior of any home.  It is therefore important that these two areas of the home are inspected carefully before purchasing a home. If these are in good working order, then this will be a positive for the home. If they are not, consider adding the price of replacing these into the overall cost of the home.

Create Your Own Style

When looking at prospective older homes it is important to appreciate the beauty of an older house, but also consider how you will make your own impression on the home. Many older homes look best when they are decorated sympathetically to the style and design of the era, although you do not have to be a slave to this style. Don’t be afraid to add your own styles and tastes to the home. If you want to have a modern kitchen with all the conveniences, don’t be afraid to include these. Many of these modern conveniences can be included into an older home in a very subtle and stylish way; hiding microwaves and dishwashers in cupboards is one clever way. This bathroom was designed by Designsetter

Make it Modern

Many people have the false belief that if you buy an older home, it has to remain old and outdated. This is completely untrue. It is possible to update your older home to include all of the modern conveniences of a new home. This may require a bit of imagination and perhaps some help from experts, but this may be a small price to pay to have a surprisingly modern old home. Be clever with your modern additions by hiding them in the design of the house; modern appliances can be hidden in cupboards, wiring can be hidden behind walls and entertainment equipment can be hidden behind doors or inside cabinets. You are only limited by your imagination.

Seek Council Permission to Alter a Historic Home

The old milking shed Country style bedroom by Beech Architects Country
Beech Architects

The old milking shed

Beech Architects

Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions on what alterations you can undertake on your home. In certain countries historic homes are protected from unauthorized alterations. Any changes to these homes will need to be approved by the local council. This may take time and money. Before you settle on the home of your dreams, do a little bit of research and find out if the home is listed by the local council. This may take a bit of extra time, but will be well worth it in the end. If you find out after purchase that it is a protected home, it may not be possible to make the changes that you want.

Consider the Size of an Older Home

Older homes were built to suit the lifestyle of those times, with smaller spaces and narrow entrances as we owned less and furniture and appliances were smaller. Things have changed significantly since then. We now own more than ever before and these things are getting bigger and better everyday. Kitchen appliances such as fridges and ovens are much larger than they were twenty years ago. This means that these modern appliances may not fit into small older kitchens. It is important to take this into consideration when deciding whether to choose an older home.Consider also the size of doorways in a house. It may not be possible to move large pieces of furniture through small doorways. 

Enjoy the Charm

When you have considered all the potential problems encountered when buying an older home, and are still prepared to take up the challenge, then you will have a wonderful home to enjoy. Older homes have a wonderful sense of charm and mystery about them. They have lived several lives in the past and have many secrets to reveal. You may not want to modernise this style, but enjoy the simple environment that it presents. Instead of installing a modern heating system, consider using the existing open fireplace, a romantic alternative too tempting to refuse on a cold wet evening.

There are many positives as well as negatives involved with buying an older home. There are  things that you should consider before taking the plunge. Consider the possible condition of fittings and building materials after so many years of use, what changes will you need to make? Will you be able to insure it? Consider how you will make it your own? Will you keep it historic, or adapt it to include all the modern conveniences of a new home? Is it large enough for the whole family and your appliances? If you have considered all of these potential problems, there is a good chance an older home is the right choice for you. For more ideas see The Long Barn Conversion.

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