When it comes to living in an older home, there are some conditions you can live with (for the time being) and others that must be taken care of as soon as possible. It’s nice to purchase a home with architectural character, but sometimes those same details can become expensive in the future if you don’t repair them in a timely fashion.
Among all the must-do repairs in the house, you should start on the outside. Not only is it the first impression visitors get when they see your house, but you need to protect the outer layer of your home from weather and
pests. If you have any broken shingles or holes in the roof, get those repaired immediately, as moisture and insects can cause structural damage to your home. The next task is to clean and caulk the windows, which are often in desperate need of attention. The final task outside would be to spruce up the landscaping. Weed flower beds, trim the grass and add some potted flowers around the yard for a special touch.
Inside the house, there are many little things to do. You can start with the floors. Wooden floors may need to be refinished, repaired and polished. For tile floors, check for any loose, cracked or broken tiles and repair those. Also look at the grout, and if it is deteriorating, re-grout the tiles. Carpets should be cleaned, or if worn, replaced, and you may consider replacing linoleum if it is faded, stained or torn.
When it comes to painting the walls, repair any loose plaster and nail-holes prior to painting. While working on the inside of your home, you also want to make sure that everything functions – the stove works and the faucets aren’t leaking. Other “must work” items on the short list should include all fixtures in the bathroom.
Besides the aesthetic repairs, look behind the walls for other issues that could be a real danger. Electricity can be a real problem, especially if it was installed more than 50 years ago. There have been many code changes and technological advances since then to make electrical wiring and outlets safer and less of a fire hazard. If you are unsure, hire a professional to inspect the wiring in your home.
Other issues commonly found in older homes are asbestos, bacteria and mold (caused by high humidity), lead pipes and cracking foundation. Again, whether buying or selling, these are items that should be addressed immediately.
Although you may feel that repairing an older home is more of an expense than what it is worth, that is usually not the case. Once the home is functioning and safe, your family will enjoy the architectural styling, texture and details not found in newer homes.