I love old houses. I live in a city where there are plenty of them available and, because this is the only place where I’ve owned real estate, I’ve never owned a house that’s less than 100 years old. Now that I’ve had experience with 4 different old houses, I know that there are certain things you should invest in as soon as you buy one. Not everybody is going to have a house as old as this, but it’s still a good idea to cover your bases, to make sure each house is everything it can be. You also want to make sure that there aren’t any problems that will cost you money or safety in the future.
Invest in Insulation and Good Windows. This was a common theme for all of my houses. They leaked heat like a sieve. After living in the first one, it became common practice for me to add insulation to, or even build out, the walls. Because my homes have been attached/rowhomes, not every wall borders exterior temperatures. This saved me money having to do it to the whole house. For less than $1000, I was able to cut my utility bills by what I imagine is about $500 a year. I like renovations like this to pay for themselves in 2 years or less, if possible, so this helped out a lot and was worth it for me. I also like to update old windows to high-quality modern windows. These will also save you a bundle on utilities. Even though they’re more expensive than my previous option, it’s worth it, especially if you’re looking for new buyers or tenants. JDI Denver Window Company is my go-to every time.
Invest in Safety. If your house is old, get it checked for lead paint and asbestos. Don’t let this slide. These materials are more dangerous for children than any other age of person, but they are still harmful to all. Also make sure your house is outfitted with modern smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Better safe than sorry.
Modernize Electrical Systems. If your house is more than 20 years old, it very likely won’t meet modern electrical requirements. Old houses can have systems that present very real fire hazards, especially when they’re as old as the ones I’m talking about. It’s much better to get a professional in there and update the system than to let it sit and worry about outages or fire. In my own home, we had to pay for a panel upgrade and get our old aluminum system totally rewired. It was expensive, but I know it’s safe. Future owners will pay more to know that it is reliable and not dangerous.
The only way to learn about home ownership is to do it. Sure you can read books and guides, but you don’t really know what’s up until you have to live in an old house for any amount of time. Save extra to cover some of these necessities as soon as, or before, you move in.