Tips for Buying An Older Home

by Brenda Wilson 10/11/2020

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

For those who embrace a sense of nostalgic charm, older homes have an undeniable allure. The yesteryear designs and attention to detail are often absent in new construction. As attractive as the idea of living in a glorious Victorian or period home may be, it’s also imperative that you take an extra-long look at older homes. While it’s true that many homes age like fine wine, some can turn to vinegar as well. Consider answering these three things before putting down 20 percent, securing a mortgage, and signing off at the closing.  

1: Older Homes Enjoy Better Quality Construction, But . . .

There’s a funny thing about the word “but,” that should prompt potential homeowners to sharpen their focus. It’s generally true that many older homes were routinely constructed with sturdier materials that are now considered “high-end.” In fact, structures built from the 1860s to 1920 employed lumber that is both thicker, and stronger by the square inch. The reason is that older homes utilized “slow-growth” timbers. Today’s wood generally comes from “fast-growth” trees. The wood density is vastly stronger in slow-growth, which is one reason many have stood the test of time. Now here’s the “but.”

Your ability to find slow-growth lumber would take a Herculean effort. That’s why it’s essential to understand that you may not be able to restore an older home to its original glory, only emulate it.

2: Homeowners Insurance Can Be Tricky With Older Homes

Take a moment and think about how you plan to approach your homeowners insurance to satisfy the lending requirements. Most people want to secure the least expensive policy, as long as it covers total replacement costs in the event of a natural disaster or fire. Therein lies the rub, “total replacement costs.”

A substantial difference exists between current building costs, and the revenue required to build a new version of your period home. The lumber already mentioned may not exist, and its modern-equivalent is generally considered a high-end material. Now add in unique architectural attributes, and you likely have a structure with a replacement value that far exceeds the average new construction costs.

In terms of your homeowners policy, it’s up to you to secure a quote from a construction outfit that specializes in older homes. Using that measure, your premium is likely to uptick. But unless you get full coverage, the coverage is likely to fall far short.

3: Older Homes Are Less Usually Expensive

Whether you have a passion for older houses or just want to purchase the maximum affordable living space, there’s plenty of good news. It may seem almost counterintuitive to old-home lovers, but the market tends to devalue them, much like automobiles. That depreciation can be a substantial perk as long as the house remains structurally sound and relatively unblemished.

Most people come to the real estate market with a set spending budget. The older home can deliver increased living space as well as a robust ambiance for less than its new-home counterpart. For those who simply adore older homes, it’s a lot like buying a fine wine or rare painting at a discount. What’s of primary importance when purchasing an older home is to follow through with a determined inspection that identifies any potential issues and conduct thorough due diligence before closing.

About the Author
Author

Brenda Wilson

THE SARASOTA PARADISE GROUP - 2018 Craig & Brenda have successfully listed HOMES & CONDOS located in LAKEWOOD RANCH COMMUNITIES, and WATERFRONT, BEACHFRONT, GOLF COURSEs including many unique properties requiring their customized expertise. Many of their clients have relocated from around the globe including year-round and part-year owners. Craig is a Broker Associate and earned the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and the Certified Distressed Property Expert designation, and is also a New Home Specialist. Brenda is a licensed Realtor and earned her Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist along with numerous other designations. The Wilson's have a proven success record with tremendous staff & systems. As top listing agents, their marketing plan is professional, proven and includes an aggressive multi-pronged internet marketing campaign. Married since 1984, Brenda & Craig were both raised in upstate New York near Binghamton, where Craig graduated college with an accounting degree. After remodeling several homes of their own, they moved to Virginia Beach in 1986 to partner a start-up financial service business ALMOST A BANC, offering check cashing, money orders, Western Union and packaging services. Building to 19 locations with over 120 employees and gross revenues in excess of $3 million per year, they sold the company in February 1992 to a Bear Stearns subsidiary. Craig held his Virginia Real Estate license and negotiated dozens of commercial leases for check cashing & tax centers. In 1991, Brenda & Craig started Quick-File Tax Network (similar to H & R Block tax preparation centers). Quick-File Tax Network quickly expanded to 29 offices in Virginia & Maryland – offering Tax preparation services & refund loans. With 100+ employees each season, they processed 4,000 – 7,700 tax returns per season and then sold the business in 1995. Their custom-designed FEEBASE database, training & form kits were licensed by Mellon Bank for use by thousands of other tax offices around the country for several years. In 1994, Craig went to work as a Sales representative for McCarthy Enterprise that included relocating to Rockport, Texas and lots of travel, selling time management systems & journals to manufacturers of leather & vinyl planner covers. During this same time frame, Brenda started her career in Real Estate, working for Coldwell Banker, and then moved to a small luxury brokerage Key Allegro Real Estate in Rockport. Brenda was a Rookie of the Year in 1995 proving herself a valuable asset receiving various awards for top production. In July 1999, the Wilson's made their move to Tulsa, Oklahoma to pursue Bible College for Craig and start their real estate career together. Craig graduated Bible School and worked part-time as a Children’s Pastor for 3 years. During this same time, Brenda & Craig quickly evolved into a top real estate team averaging over 60 sales per year in 2000-2004. During their last year in Tulsa, the Wilson Hometeam was the number one Keller Williams Real Estate Team in the Tulsa Market with 80 sales. Systems were fine-tuned, followed by many happy buyers and sellers. In July 2004, the call of the sunny Gulf Coast climate and sales opportunities led Brenda & Craig to relocate to Paradise on Florida’s gulf coast in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. They transferred to Keller Williams Realty Select and have consistently earned many top production awards annually for the past 13 years. Craig and Brenda's team continues to evolve as their daughter, Jessica Coay, became team administrator in 2016 – working at the office 3 days a week. In 2017 she activated her real estate license and has now joined the team working with buyers and sellers. In 2017, they joined with Fine Properties. The Sarasota Paradise Group gives you the advantage of having multiple agents to hold open houses, show property, and watch the market continuously to assist our clients to navigate their real estate needs! If you’re considering selling or buying a property, let Brenda & Craig show you the benefits of working with an experienced team with a proven plan for maximizing your return. Call Craig & Brenda at (941) 321-8686.