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Old 10-26-2017, 11:55 AM
 
9,625 posts, read 4,766,090 times
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In my zip code, a 92-year-old house isn't an old house.

Just like any older house, there are lots of variables. Is is all original or have electrical, plumbing, and heat been updated? How old are the windows? What has been done for insulation?

I used to own a house built in 1895. There were a few ancient windows I had to replace but most of it had been updated several times over the years. I mostly was doing cosmetic things. The house I own now is about 70 years old. I've replaced all the systems and gutted all the rooms.

If you have a 92-year-old house that hasn't seen any updating, that needs to be reflected in the selling price. It's not cheap to re-wire, install new HVAC, plumbing, and deal with kitchens, baths, windows, doors, and insulation. I bought my house for the value of the land it was sitting on because it needed so much work.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:00 PM
 
706 posts, read 219,609 times
Reputation: 1539
Quote:
Originally Posted by emotiioo View Post
No idea, OP.

Are you familiar with older houses? Is the house structurally sound? Are the systems in good working order? Are there any issues with water infiltration or mold? Is it in a good area? Has it been updated to accommodate modern heating and cooling? Is the roof in need of repair? Does it have a pest problem? Is it big enough for your needs? Does it have good curb appeal?

I buy exclusively older homes as they are generally more well-built than modern mass produced homes. But that is a big "generally"-- older houses can also suffer from a myriad of problems. I have experience with the repair and maintenance of old houses but many do not and do not want to bother. This could be a fantastic decision or the worst decision you ever made. It really depends on what you are looking for and how the house fits that profile.
We've lived in a house that is well over 100 years old with a few problems ,for over 50 years, that are normal with any house. However, if you can approach this life choice with a crystal clear mind and a hard core business perspective then , if you buy an older home, get more for your money 'cause "they really don't build 'em like they used to".

Modernizing an older home can be the best money you will ever spend if done right. Living in an older home require you to act in a hard core business manner to ensure you have a wonderful life experience.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Somwhere
2,591 posts, read 919,707 times
Reputation: 6555
I lived in several Victorians when I was younger (no, they were NOT new back then). I love the look of old houses, the beautiful design details, and the solid heart-wood construction.

But I can tell you windows leak cold air all winter long. Will you need to replace all the windows?

thinking of the 3 rules of real estate, is it a good location for you?

knob and tube wiring can be a fire hazard. If you remodel at all, you may be required to replace all the k&t. Some re-modelers or sellers just change the fixtures and switches so it looks modern. How will you find out if that has happened?

lead paint. again, especially if you remodel

asbestos--probably added when someone remodeled in the '30s or so.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:09 PM
 
2,664 posts, read 1,333,041 times
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I don't think 100 years old is a lot for a house. It all depends on how it's been treated and whether updates in electrical have been done. Furnaces, hot water heaters, plumbing, pipes, toilets, roofs,, these are the things that one needs worry about. Also termites. They can and will destroy a home.

If your Home Inspector didn't find any issues, buy it.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:12 PM
 
30,122 posts, read 20,544,124 times
Reputation: 27352
Quote:
Originally Posted by deancare View Post
Is it a good idea to buy a 92 year old house now (no problems, passed inspection) and planning to sell in 30 years or later? Thanks in advance.


Why wouldn't it be? That's not very old.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Athol, Idaho
2,142 posts, read 913,283 times
Reputation: 3126
I'm currently selling my house built in 1932. When we moved in all the windows were newer with the exception of one. One old wooden framed drafty window. It only takes one to make the whole house much colder. We replaced that. I would say if you remove those sell them. People use those in decorating like I do and antique stores want them.

We found some original wiring when remodeling the kitchen and replaced it but didn't rewire the whole house. Didn't tear apart every wall. Lived there 10 years and never had a problem though we know there is still other old wiring someplace. Selling the house, some people have asked about this.

Not having central heat is different. The house was still plenty warm, but with a different heat source in every room, some places are warmer than others. Modern central heat is even through out the house. If you have to have it that way an older home may not be for you. A lot of them do not have air conditioning either. Or a master bedroom. Some of it just comes down to whats important to you. People lived for centuries without these modern things and it can still be done.

What I loved about my house was its uniqueness. There is something really nice about something that doesn't share a floor plan with any other house. Not part of a subdivision. Those that are even quirky like mine with really odd floor plans can just be fun to redo. But I am finding that they do need a special buyer like I was and having a bit of trouble with this. When it comes to resale I don't think quirky is an advantage and that should be kept in mind. The turret for example is pretty, but those are small round rooms that aren't practical and bigger furniture doesn't fit. These houses have things like dumbwaiters or sometimes no room for a refrigerator in the kitchen if built in 1908. If you are someone that doesn't think everything has to be practical and have imagination you make like an older home.


I guess I would ask why your buying it. If you are going to live there a long time it may be worth the fun they are. I know I enjoyed mine. I have yet to find one I could buy as an investment to flip because there is just usually too much wrong already with these and who knows what else would turn up. The older something is the more time it has had to deteriorate.
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:55 PM
 
1,447 posts, read 543,288 times
Reputation: 1992
My last house was built around 1900. It had an extremely thorough inspection and was in very good condition for a home of this age. Most of the stuff below is normal for that kind of house. It was a beautiful house but here are some issues:

-solid wall masonry construction (no cavity). does not handle moisture well (cavity in modern construction separates the damp outer wall from the dry inner wall). Uninsulated and cannot insulate without destroying the look of the house.
-original roof and very, very expensive to repair as needed
-replacement windows must be very expensive 'period' appropriate windows (per historic district laws but would do anyway to avoid destroying the look of the home). Original single windows produce loads of moisture
-dirt crawl space under original floorboards (designed for carpet). Very drafty and blows up dirt, dust and loads of spiders and slugs (gaps in wood can be 1/4 inch or more). Had it insulated at a very very high cost (adds little/no value to house). Floor had to be taken up to do it. Special breathable methods used (or you will be sorry).
-Plaster and lath must use special breathable paint (see above about solid wall) so that moisture can dissipate.
-Plaster must be repaired with lime and not modern materials or it will not breathe properly (see solid wall comment). Trademen who can work with lime are expensive and rare. For example, installing drywall or using it to repair interior walls that are on the outside of the house will create big moisture problems as it won't breathe.
-Many plaster issues cannot be properly repaired once the integrity of the keys are destroyed and entire walls (or worse, ceilings!!!) must sometimes be redone (very expensive to do right). For example, a water leak from an upstairs bath can create far more serious problems than a drywall house.
-A few fireplaces were walled up improperly and didn't breathe (moisture issues again).
-Repairs to pointing must be done with lime (not all had been done properly over the years). Modern cement mortar will destroy victorian bricks over time as it does not 'give' as lime does (or breathe). Bricks need to expand and contract or they will bust up and decay.
-Asbestos installed during the asbestos heyday
-Wood rot due to moisture problems (see solid wall construction)
-House lived through 2 world wars and went through all kinds of owners. Some cared for it properly and others didn't. Poor care and periods of nobody living there take a toll. I think many homes of that age have been unoccupied (unheated, not properly ventilated) for various reasons at some point in their lives.
-Victorian homes were designed to have fires going every day in the winter. Moisture is a problem when you don't have fires and you try to seal up the house too much.
-Moisture, moisture, moisture.

Just about EVERYTHING takes triple or more time to do and double or more cost. Aim to do one "simple" job and you do 8 because nothing is straightforward.

Agents should be aware of everything on this list if they deal in areas with these kind of homes. Sadly most will not understand any of this.

While it's true to some extent that older homes were "built better", they were built for different times (e.g. drafts were just a part of life, energy efficiency was not an issue, etc) and using different technologies and techniques. And in many areas, Victorian homes were slapped up very quickly with many corners cut.

Obviously my list above may vary depending on the construction method. And some may say that you can just throw up drywall on your walls and not worry about proper techniques. However, I believe that if you are going to buy a beautiful old home, it's your duty to take care of it properly and not do repairs that will compromise it. Repairs or remodeling that is not 'period appropriate' is one thing but often it's destructive and can hide many problems. Many tradesmen have no idea what they are talking about with old homes. They don't have the necessary skills or knowledge and will just suggest what they know and tell you that you don't need to do anything special. You need to be very careful with any advice you get from them and learn about everything yourself.
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Old 10-26-2017, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Close to an earthquake
890 posts, read 578,826 times
Reputation: 2378
I sold a home last year that was built in 1903 so this qualifies me to answer your question.

If you like a fat wallet zipped shut, then don't buy a home this old. Don't buy an old home if you aren't committed to preserving its time period uniqueness. Don't Home Depot an old home. Buy a newer one.

If you're willing to have an open wallet and do the right think, you'll enjoy an old home for all the charm it offers. Consider it a chapter in your life that'll hopefully be well lived.
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Old 10-26-2017, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Mount Airy, Maryland
8,274 posts, read 4,530,960 times
Reputation: 12189
We purchased our home that was built in 1900 in 2002. At the time I was asking the same questions. I did not want to spend my life under a sink every Saturday and I had major reservations. What I have found was the property is a bit of work, with lots of grass to cut and trees to maintain. But the house itself is no more maintenance than a new home. And it's a whole lot more fun.
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Old 10-26-2017, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Athol, Idaho
2,142 posts, read 913,283 times
Reputation: 3126
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_because View Post
My last house was built around 1900. It had an extremely thorough inspection and was in very good condition for a home of this age. Most of the stuff below is normal for that kind of house. It was a beautiful house but here are some issues:

-solid wall masonry construction (no cavity). does not handle moisture well (cavity in modern construction separates the damp outer wall from the dry inner wall). Uninsulated and cannot insulate without destroying the look of the house.
-original roof and very, very expensive to repair as needed
-replacement windows must be very expensive 'period' appropriate windows (per historic district laws but would do anyway to avoid destroying the look of the home). Original single windows produce loads of moisture
-dirt crawl space under original floorboards (designed for carpet). Very drafty and blows up dirt, dust and loads of spiders and slugs (gaps in wood can be 1/4 inch or more). Had it insulated at a very very high cost (adds little/no value to house). Floor had to be taken up to do it. Special breathable methods used (or you will be sorry).
-Plaster and lath must use special breathable paint (see above about solid wall) so that moisture can dissipate.
-Plaster must be repaired with lime and not modern materials or it will not breathe properly (see solid wall comment). Trademen who can work with lime are expensive and rare. For example, installing drywall or using it to repair interior walls that are on the outside of the house will create big moisture problems as it won't breathe.
-Many plaster issues cannot be properly repaired once the integrity of the keys are destroyed and entire walls (or worse, ceilings!!!) must sometimes be redone (very expensive to do right). For example, a water leak from an upstairs bath can create far more serious problems than a drywall house.
-A few fireplaces were walled up improperly and didn't breathe (moisture issues again).
-Repairs to pointing must be done with lime (not all had been done properly over the years). Modern cement mortar will destroy victorian bricks over time as it does not 'give' as lime does (or breathe). Bricks need to expand and contract or they will bust up and decay.
-Asbestos installed during the asbestos heyday
-Wood rot due to moisture problems (see solid wall construction)
-House lived through 2 world wars and went through all kinds of owners. Some cared for it properly and others didn't. Poor care and periods of nobody living there take a toll. I think many homes of that age have been unoccupied (unheated, not properly ventilated) for various reasons at some point in their lives.
-Victorian homes were designed to have fires going every day in the winter. Moisture is a problem when you don't have fires and you try to seal up the house too much.
-Moisture, moisture, moisture.

Just about EVERYTHING takes triple or more time to do and double or more cost. Aim to do one "simple" job and you do 8 because nothing is straightforward.

Agents should be aware of everything on this list if they deal in areas with these kind of homes. Sadly most will not understand any of this.

While it's true to some extent that older homes were "built better", they were built for different times (e.g. drafts were just a part of life, energy efficiency was not an issue, etc) and using different technologies and techniques. And in many areas, Victorian homes were slapped up very quickly with many corners cut.

Obviously my list above may vary depending on the construction method. And some may say that you can just throw up drywall on your walls and not worry about proper techniques. However, I believe that if you are going to buy a beautiful old home, it's your duty to take care of it properly and not do repairs that will compromise it. Repairs or remodeling that is not 'period appropriate' is one thing but often it's destructive and can hide many problems. Many tradesmen have no idea what they are talking about with old homes. They don't have the necessary skills or knowledge and will just suggest what they know and tell you that you don't need to do anything special. You need to be very careful with any advice you get from them and learn about everything yourself.
In my defense we are told not to give out advice about home construction, but to advise clients to hire inspectors and seek advice from the professionals in that line of work.
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