3 Things to Consider When Buying an Older Home

by Christine DemosJuly 23, 2013

Hi! I’m Jamie, and I blog over at C.R.A.F.T.. My husband and I just bought a new to us home in Austin, TX that was born in 1946! We love her and all of her quirks, but there are certainly a few surprises popping up here and there. We love the well established trees, fancy crown molding, solid wood doors, and quirky mint colored hexagon tiles peeking through in the bathroom, but along with character and cuteness there are some old home issues to consider. If you’re in the market for a home built over 40 years ago add these 3 items to your checklist…
house

1. Painted tiles

Before we bought our house, I had never considered how much elbow grease it would take to de- paint tiles or how annoyed I would be to watch the chipping paint happen on a weekly basis. The painting of tiles comes from real estate agents assuming that buyers like beige, neutral colors and in turn encourage home owners to paint walls and tiles to appeal to broad range of buyers. Just be aware that if you buy an old house, the tiles might be painted and it is super duper hard (not impossible) to remove the paint. It will look pretty when you move in, and then slowly but surely you’ll lay your lint picker upper on the counter and then this will happen. Bam! You didn’t even know you had white tile.
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You thought it was mint colored because you saw this happening a few days after you moved in…
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I’m not saying painted tiles is a deal breaker, I’m just saying you should take it into consideration or possibly even use it as a bargaining tool in the house buying process.

2. Layout of home

Older houses, in general, were built with smaller closets, no master bathroom, no garage, and an overall choppier layout than today’s homes. The living room and kitchen most likely had a door in-between, things like that. Again, I’m not saying this is necessarily bad, just something to consider if you’re thinking you want to go the old house route. When walking through the potential old home, seriously consider how you’ll use each room. Can you just remove the door and make it all better? Or do you need to literally knock down walls to give the space the feel you want? It’s also typical to see add-ons in older homes. In our situation, the supposed master bedroom has a full bathroom attached, but it also happens to be the smallest of the 3 bedrooms. We moved our stuff into that room, and quickly realized that only being able to fit one dresser in the room was not going to work out for us. We now live in the largest bedroom, but the bathroom is in the hallway. It’s not that big of a a deal, but certainly not what we thought was going to happen.

3. Placement of washer and dryer hook ups

Or do they even exist? A lot of times the washer and dryer hook ups were installed after the fact and placed in the kitchen where there was easy access to existing plumbing. Are you OK with your washer and dryer in the middle of you kitchen? Or sometimes they were installed in the garage, like in our case. I think our garage is an addition, which means it is only attached to our house by an outdoor walkway. This means, that to switch a load from washer to dryer, I have to walk outside, and into the garage. Also, if you already own a dryer, is it a gas or electric dryer and what hook up is available in your potential home?

While none of the above issues are deal breakers, they are things I wish Andy and I would have given more thought to when searching for the perfect new to us home. Next week, I’ll be sharing why getting multiple inspections within your 10 day option period is a good idea!

About The Author
Christine Demos
Christine is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Homes.com. She's a small town girl at heart, who currently lives in Norfolk, VA with her husband and their fur baby. When she's not working, she enjoys cooking, decorating, traveling, and binge watching Netflix. As a proud Virginia Tech alum, she also loves cheering on the Hokies!
1 Comments
  • July 23, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Hi Jamie,

    Well stated and so very true. Our tubs and tiles were painted over also. But I got to tell you my husband and I absolutely love our old house and we even love working on it too.

    As a realtor I work with people all the time, who are looking for the charm of the older homes. I always question buyers to whether they are experienced with vintage and historic homes. Otherwise they just might not really be prepared for the cost of renovations, maintenance and upkeep that goes along with owning an older home.

    Charisse Fontaine

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