Buying an older home can be a great investment. Old homes have a charm all their own. They have history and character that a newly built home can’t hope to compare to.
However, they also have their quirks. An older home has done a lot more living than a new home. It might have a few aches and pains that you need to address as the new homeowner.
If you are buying an old home, consider some of these services you may need when moving into an old house. Some of these services are obvious, but some are thing you may not have thought about yet. They are not all urgent, but you should get to them at some point. And remember – every home is unique. So figure out what specifically your home needs before diving in too deep.
When you’re ready, check out these 5 homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house.
1. New Locks
This one is actually a good tip for most people moving into a home. It’s never a bad idea when you move to get the locks changed and checked. You never know how many people still might have a key to your home.
However, this is extra important for people moving into an older home. New locks is one of the most important homeowner services you may need when moving into a old house. It not only ensures your home is secure, it gives you peace of mind so you can enjoy your new house.
When it comes to the locks, you can change them entirely or get them rekeyed. Rekeying entails removing the lock cylinder. Then, a technician can change the pins inside the lock. This is different from changing out the locks entirely.
It is possible for home owners to rekey their own door locks. It requires removing the entire door knob and retainer ring in order to get to the cylinder plug.
You can also change the locks in your home yourself if you want to. This is even easier than rekeying the locks yourself and avoids you paying for more homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house.
To change the locks, first take an inventory so you know how many locks you need to change. You can get new door knob sets at a hardware store. Make sure they are labeled “key alike” so the same key will work with all of them. Then simply unscrew the old door knob and insert the new one.
Of course, you don’t need to do all this yourself. There are plenty of homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house, including lock installation. It can save you time and hassle to let someone else take care of these kinds of services, even if they are relatively simple to do yourself.
2. Home Inspection
All homes need inspection, but old homes come with some unique challenges in this regard. Many times, home owners are tempted to save money by doing a home inspection themselves. This, however, can end up costing significant time, money and hassle in the long run.
A proper home inspection is one of the most important homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house. With older homes, it might not be as obvious how things like the plumbing and electricity work. You definitely don’t want to find out the hard way by having something break after you’ve moved in.
You can get references and referrals when setting up a home inspection. If you have friends who’ve recently moved, see how they went about getting an inspection.
Also, don’t be shy about advocating for yourself. You are paying for this inspection. You are well within your rights to expect and ask for a thorough job.
You can also do a little homework ahead of time to better inform yourself. This will enable you to ask better questions during and after the inspection. Also, make sure your home inspection includes fire inspection services. Fire is one of the most serious types of damages a home owner can experience and with an older home there are lots of places for fire hazards to hide. Make sure you’re protected ahead of time by including this in your inspection.
Plumbing is a big category, but a very important one when you’re moving into a new house. There are a lot of homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house that fall under plumbing, so let’s look at several of them.
When you purchase your home, you should try to find out if you are on a septic system or not. Most old houses are using a connection to a septic system, as these systems were very popular around the 1950s. They’ve faded away over time, but depending on the age of your home, you stand a decent chance of having septic tanks on your property that need maintenance.
The septic tank is an intricate part of the rest of your home’s plumbing. All waste will go to the septic tank, whether it’s from toilets, washing machines, sinks or showers. That means your septic tank is probably handling a lot more than you give it credit for. Therefore, if something were to go wrong with your septic tank, it could potentially go very wrong.
A septic spill is not something any home owner wants to deal with. Put this toward the top of the homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house to ensure your septic tank is working well and doesn’t have any leaks or problems on the horizon.
However, plumbing does a lot more in a home than just move waste around. We use the components of plumbing for all sorts of things in our daily lives. From the moment we wake up and want a cup of coffee to when we brush our teeth before bed, we are relying on our home’s plumbing all day long.
Therefore, it’s worthwhile to make sure all of it is in good working order and not just select pieces. This might occur during your home inspection. At that time, the inspector should be checking that toilets work, sinks operate properly and other aspects of the plumbing are in good working order.
This can also be a great time to get information about your home and exactly how it works. You might find, for example, that you have well water service at your house. If your home is connected to well water, you will want to consider water well maintenance among the homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house. Maintaining that well is absolutely crucial not just for your service, but also for your health.
Well water should get tested regularly. This can help detect early signs of contamination in the water, such as nitrates and coliform bacteria. You might even check for things like pesticides and insecticides depending on where you live.
Finally, you might be inspired to upgrade parts of your plumbing as part of the homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house. An older home could have plumbing that doesn’t quite suit your needs or is just so out of date that it needs an upgrade.
For example, you might want electric hot water heater installation to ensure you’re getting hot water more easily. Older homes can have a little more trouble with things like water pressure and water heating. You need to decide if that has a significant impact on your quality of life.
4. Gas and Electric
Gas and electric is another big category with a lot of complexity. However, as with plumbing, an older home could have outdated gas and electric that impact your owner quality of life. If this is where you plan to live for a significant amount of time, this could be one of the homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house.
Check first that the gas and electric are in good working order. Your inspection should also include appliances and things like that. If you need gas stove repairs, refrigerator repairs or other appliance repairs, you will want to know that before moving in.
However, you can also think about upgrades that might improve your living situation in the home. You might need ac repair services if the systems in the house are old. However, you can also think about just upgrading your ac as part of the electric services you may need when moving into an old house.
Improving your electric and gas service might not only be convenient – it could also make your home safer. Older electric and gas services might be out of date or simply worn with time. They might also have had different safety standards when they were installed.
During your home inspection, definitely make sure these types of systems are inspected thoroughly for safety as well as function. You want to know exactly how the electric and gas in your home works and an inspection can be a great way to get that information. Then, you can make more informed choices about homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house, such as an upgrade to the gas and electric.
If you stick with what is already there when you move in, you might find that you have home heating oil. This kind of system is a little more old-fashioned, meaning a lot of older homes will have home heating oil and an underground oil tank. This tank contains the fuel that will be used to heat your home.
Find out if this is how your home works, as it is a vital piece of information. If you have home heating oil, you may need residential fuel services in the future. Home heating oil tanks can run out and without that fuel your home can’t be heated. This is something you’ll have to consider as a long term part of your ordinary home maintenance.
Not all the homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house are purely functional. Some might be cosmetic. As beautiful and charming as older homes are, there are some cosmetic changes you might feel strongly about when you are thinking about buying the home.
For example, you might look at the exterior of the home and want new gutters. Gutters can easily get clogged and should be cleaned at least twice a year, but beyond that, they also add to the overall look and feel of the home. Gutters that look out of place make a bad first impression.
The same goes for things like doors and windows. Doors are not very complicated to change out, or upgrade on your own. Even a fresh coat of paint on a door can make it look fresh and new, even in an old home.
When it comes to windows, the concern is only partially cosmetic. Make sure you don’t have drafty windows in your home, as this will waste a lot of money and energy on heating and cooling. If the windows are old and damaged, you might look into commercial glass services to fix them. This tiny upgrade can not only improve the look of your home, but also save you money by getting rid of old, drafty windows.
An Oldie But a Goodies
Old homes are wonderful. They have charm and personality and history that brand new homes can’t possibly compare to. However, that does mean that they come with a few extra challenges. You’ll probably find lots of homeowner services you may need when moving into an old house.
It’s OK to take this process one step at a time and look at things in manageable chunks. You are going to be living in this house for the long haul, so while it’s good to identify projects early on, don’t feel like they are all urgent priorities. For example, if you move in in summer, even if your windows are draft that isn’t a big concern until winter. Put it off for now and save yourself some stress. You deserve to get to enjoy your beautiful old home.