Friday, February 19, 2016

Questions to ask before buying an older home

By Rick Yost - There isn't anything quite like the charm of an older
home, built in a different era, with true craftsmanship. Maine is full of older homes with great structural integrity and fascinating architectural characteristics. While these homes can be truly beautiful, they are not for everyone. They require more maintenance then a new home and often small projects turn into big ones. There are several questions that a buyer should ask themselves before buying an older home to avoid buyer’s remorse.

First and foremost, do you like Do-It-Yourself projects? If you love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing a DIY project, an older home might be for you. Older homes generally are a never ending source of new projects that need to be completed in order to maintain the home. If DIY is not for you, buy a newer home.

Do you have free and flexible time? Those DIY projects can be time consuming and range in timeframe from hours to days. An occupation that requires sixty hours a week does not leave much time for old house projects. Many of these projects can spring up at any time, so having flexible time is important. A leaky pipe won't wait till next week. Having free and flexible time makes you a better candidate for an older home.

The alternative to free and flexible time is deep pockets. You can pay others to handle the maintenance that on old home requires. A good blend is to handle smaller non-emergency projects yourself and leave the big emergency jobs to the professionals. Find a good plumber, electrician, and carpenter and let them know exactly what you are trying to accomplish and what characteristics of the home are most important to you. Then get ready to write the checks. Skilled tradesman can be expensive. Are you financially comfortable with the monetary demands that go with an older home?

Another big question to ask yourself is-- "is my significant other as invested in an old home as I am?" Many arguments can start with "Let's go skiing this weekend!"

"Sorry, I really want to strip that old wall paper.” Make sure you both like DIY and you both are committed to maintaining an older home. You do not want your home to be a constant cause of resentment. You don't want to be doing DIY alone, do you?

The last question to ask yourself is--" Do I absolutely, positively love this home?"

Older homes can be frustrating and time consuming. Be sure that the home is worth the effort and frustration to you. If it is a labor of love, it will be worth it.

It is really a matter of personality. If you love the charm and character of older homes and appreciate the sense of accomplishment that comes from DIY, an older home might just be what you are looking for. If you like shiny new things and really value your free time, my advice is look for a home built no later than the 1990s.
Before buying an older home, consider the questions above and decide well. Good luck.

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