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Old 02-15-2013, 04:42 AM
Location: Connecticut
1,044 posts, read 1,290,160 times
Reputation: 1123


My house, which I bought in 2004, was built in 1892 and I have had no major problems with it. If you like the house get a home inspection, and if it is in good shape then go for it!
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:53 AM
179 posts, read 349,063 times
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Our last house was a tudor built in 1920. That house was fantastic...solid as a rock. We replaced the windows and yes, they were custom windows and very expensive, but they were well worth it. After having lived in that house for seven years, I would buy another of the same vintage in a heartbeat!
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:28 AM
Location: Connecticut
24,570 posts, read 40,120,453 times
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Originally Posted by Konig1985 View Post
Thanks everyone. After hearing the list of problems I think I will forget about the house lol.
I would not dismiss a house built in the 20's. You asked a general question and received a general response. These are things that should be looked at. If the home was taken care of these items should not be a problem. Still you need to check them. A good home inspector will help you check these things and identify which ones could be a problem in the home you are actually interested in.

To add to the list, you should note that homes from the 20's usually have some odd layouts (particularly with the kitchen), completely spearated rooms and lack sufficent closet space. They might not have a bath or lavatory on each floor. They are likely to have larger formal areas (living room and dining room) and smaller informal areas (kitchen and den or family room). Today's homes are the opposite of this.

That said homes built in the 20's are likely have a nice level yard and are in a convenient in-town or near-town location. They also are likely to have better finsihes and trim than more modern homes which add to their overal character and charm. Again it does depend on the home itself and what has been done to it over the years. Jay
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:30 AM
Location: Connecticut
24,570 posts, read 40,120,453 times
Reputation: 6942
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
Right now I'm living in a metro area where most houses were built in the 2000's!
This is not something to brag about. Most of these homes are massed produced tract houses so their overall quality can be questionable. Jay
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:29 PM
Location: Grass Valley,CA.
1,113 posts, read 2,096,425 times
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My childhood home was a 1925 Dutch colonial off S. Quaker Ln in West Hartford. It was a great house and we insulated the attic in 1964, there was none! I still recall hauling those bags of fiberglass up 3 stories, I was itching for days afterwards!
The house was sold years ago and it's still occupied. They were built very solid back then and they can be very cozy.
As someone said, get a pro inspection and be prepared to for some DIY repairs!
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:16 AM
10 posts, read 17,397 times
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Our home was built in that time frame. Electrical is an issue, I still have the knob and tube electrical running in parts of my house. It is a bit drafty because the windows are old, but the stormers and plastic on the inside's help that a lot in the winter. The insulation is almost non-existent at this point, perhaps I'll address that one day along with the electrical. Those are easy fixes. Make sure the house is still square. Look at the doors in the upstairs, if they are no longer rectangular, ie the tops trimmed at a funny angle, be a little wary. Mine is like that, it's settling, and shifting in a bad way, which is a bit pricey to fix. All that being said, it's an incredibly charming home in the arm-pit of Norwich. I'm more concerned about being shot by a stray bullet than an electrical fire due to the knob and tube wiring.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:27 PM
Location: Conn.
773 posts, read 831,196 times
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Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
Exactly! They were built at the perfect time for a burgeoning middle and upper middle class, anxious for stately livable abodes. And that is exactly what 1920s homes are. Modern plumbing, electric that is easily updated, and many touches that you just don't see in newer construction - stained glass windows, wood molding, fireplaces, and builtins. I love those houses.

The best of the old and the new! I agree totally kettlepot!

If you don't like 1920s houses, stay away!!!
There is nothing that I hate more than seeing a 1920s - or any circa home modernized.
I know a person who bought a house that is a Sears house - believe it was shipped in pieces by railroad and the owner put it together. The person who owns it knows a bit about construction and owns rental properties that he maintains and repairs himself. He loves the Sears house; there is a Sears home owner club even. So, older homes can be good. I have been looking for a place (live in a condo that is fast going downhill) and always worry about the older places because I figure they might need a lot of repair work, but often they can be very good. Many have plaster walls, not the cheap stuff they put in now.

Good luck in your search. Don't buy anything that makes you too apprehensive.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:28 AM
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Do not dismiss a house because it was built in the 20's (or earlier). Homes were built well and with care back then -- not like the prefab, modular homes put up in a matter of weeks nowadays.

Before buying ANY home you should have a professional inspection done, no matter what year it was built. Unless the home you're looking at did not change hands at all in the last 90 years, it is likely that a lot of upgrades were already made by other buyers over the years.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:43 PM
Location: Northampton, Mass.
697 posts, read 855,770 times
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I grew up in a house built in the early 1920s and lived in a couple more that age or older---built rock solid. In fact the house which I had the most problems with was the newest house I had ever lived in/owned (built in the late 80s). A house built in the 20s, if it has been well cared for and updates done to meet current needs, I would consider to be much better than the new cracker jack boxes that are thrown up dozens at a time in planned neighborhoods.
The plaster walls and ceilings insulate against sound better and are much stronger if they are still in good condition. The timber is much superior in most cases too, not to mention often better interior details like real wood doors and not that hollow cardboard and plywood garbage that we see so often in modern construction. I never even know they made doors with cardboard until I moved into my last house---the door to the bathroom began to warp and come apart after five years (I replaced it with a new solid pine door).

The thing with insulation: houses in the 20s were built without it, but it would be quite rare to come across one in a cold climate that still had no insulation of some kind. Once heating fuel became more expensive (I mean this in the colder climates of New England, great lakes, etc) people started to add insulation, typically at least in an attic and often times had it blown in to the outside wall cavities---the old "wooly" blown in insulation was common in the 1950s and 60s and many houses from the 1920s still have this type if it has not been replaced/augmented with modern foam or fiberglass bats. I looked at a house built in 1750 which had tons of newer fiberglass insulation under its attic floors and blown in type in the walls. So, expect some variation of quality and type of insulation in older homes but in cold climates where it had been added later...and certainly something that should be checked before purchase.
In warmer climates, harder for me to say but it might be more hit or miss in areas where heating was not critical. Remember central AC systems did not start to become common in houses in warm climates until the 1970s or 80s...many old houses were not built with that in mind.

As for electrical, same thing, in a 90 year old house you'll likely find many added circuits with its original system (if it had been wired when first built) if it has not been rewired so that must be evaluated on a case by case basis.
You want at least 100 amp service and preferabbly 200 amps, especially if you have central AC or electric heat. Old fuse boxes were typically 20, 40 or 60 amp service which today would be considered deficient for most families needs.
It helps to be at least a little handy and know a bit about houses and their systems if you're going to buy and live in an older one.
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:15 AM
2,505 posts, read 2,419,385 times
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I grew up in a house that was built in 1920's and recently bought a house that was built in 1850. I would never buy newer (1980's to present, unless it was extremely customized) construction homes (personal preference). The character and craftsmanship of older homes is second to none. I am handy so work does not scare me, but working on houses built in the 1980's and then working on mine built in 1850. I would venture to say that my 1850 house will be standing for a far longer time period. Plus I love the history of them.
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