Buying an old house is not something you do on a whim. While old houses have a lot of character and charm, looking after them isn’t always easy and a lot of people that rush into the decision can end up regretting it a few years after moving in. There are a few hidden costs that come with buying an old house if it has not been properly maintained or brought up to code that it helps to be aware of before you hand over the cheque.
If you’re in the market for an antique property and you want to know what to look out for, here is a list of some of the things you might be paying for down the line when you buy an old house:
One of the most expensive parts of owning an old house is getting it warm. Many old houses don’t have adequate insulation or have unsealed areas where drafts can enter. That means that owners can rack up incredible costs on their heating bills trying to keep their property warm. Otherwise, you may be required to have the property properly insulated, sealed and have double glazed windows installed, which can get pretty costly.
Ventilation is the next big cost after insulation. If you choose not to upgrade the insulation of your old house, ventilation isn’t likely to be a problem as old houses are built to be quite airy. But, if you do, you might find yourself facing damp mould and rot. By making changes to keep the cold air out of your home, you’re actually cutting off the airflow, which means that you have moisture hanging around in the air in your home with nowhere to go. When this moisture in the air comes in contact with a cold surface, it turns back into moisture and gets absorbed by materials around your home. Old homes are typically made from permeable materials to prevent damp, but insulation prevents moisture from reaching outside. The issue of condensation can be costly if you don’t address it soon enough because you will need to have mould and rotten materials removed and improving your home’s ventilation might involve having extractor fans installed.
Leaks and Damp
While this doesn’t always happen in old homes, old and corroded pipes, drains and gutters in old houses can leak and cause damp. These fixes can be expensive because you will need to replace the damaged pipes and resolve any damp problems. To reduce the cost of potential damages, one of the firs things that new homeowners in old houses do is request a damp survey to check for current and potential sources of damp on the property. Services for damp repair and damp proofing in London are often in high demand due to the amount of old houses that have yet to be brought up to modern standards. If you do not take damp seriously you can also suffer from additional costs on top of repairing leaks and damp proofing the property. If you have any severe leaks and damp problems in your old home you may also need to deal with subsidence.
Not all old houses will experience subsidence, but if surrounding trees and shrubs have not been tended to or if water has seeped into the foundation of your property, you may find cracks, bumps and dents appearing in your walls and floors. While these aren’t usually expensive repairs, these problems can become recurrent if the issue responsible for subsidence isn’t addressed. That means that you will either have to get used to having cracks in your walls or get them fixed again and again.
The costs of updating the electrical facilities of an old house can be one of the largest expenses because they can be so extensive. Most modern houses require at least 100 amp service and due to the amount of electrical equipment that’s stored in a modern home, many old houses need to have more electrical outlets installed. There is also the issue of old electrical wiring being damaged with age and rewiring a house can be one of the most costly upgrades for an old home.