A tree-lined street with century-old oaks and stately, ancient homes has great curb appeal. However, before you invest your life savings into purchasing an antique home with tons of character, make sure you know what you are signing up for. Keep in mind that there is a huge commitment in time, cost and energy. Do as much as you can before you make an offer to avoid unforeseen issues down the road.

Get Two Inspections

An inspector is human and prone to mistakes, even one used to dealing with older homes. It is worth the money to get a second inspection to ensure that you know all the required repairs, and count on there always being repairs. You should include a structural engineer and a bug expert in the inspection team.

Common Issues with Older Homes

  • Pests. Whether it is termites and other wood-loving bugs, bats or mice in the attic or some other form of home invasion, you will need to have every inch of the home inspected. Get quotes from experienced exterminators before agreeing to a sales price.
  • Lead Paint. Homes built prior to 1978 are likely to have lead paint, which can affect the brain development of children and causes health problems for adults. It could cost up to $10,000 to properly remove the lead paint.
  • Windows. Older windows will not be double-paned or properly insulated. Know how old the windows are. If they haven't been updated, you will have to replace them to avoid expensive heating and cooling bills.
  • Insulation and Outdated Heating systems. Many older houses do not have gas central heating & cooling systems and instead rely on electric radiators or oil furnaces for heating. Get estimates on how much it will cost to update to a more practical heating source. Also, find out whether the insulation in the home has been replaced in recent years. If not, then plan to spend a chunk of money on new insulation, at least in the attic, before you move in.

Owning an older home can be challenging but owners seem to think that it is worth it. Don't be afraid to mix more modern elements and conveniences into imprint your own style on the house. For example, just because the clawfoot tub in the bathroom is visually appealing, you can still put in a low-key modern shower that doesn't ruin the architectural aesthetic.

If you need help finding a home in Cambridge, Ontario, contact us at 519 222 1540. Dewar Realty provides real estate services in Cambridge, Waterloo, Kitchener, and nearby neighbourhoods. We can answer any questions you have on old or new homes in the area.

Posted by Greg Dewar on
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