U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Real Estate
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 10-27-2017, 12:45 PM
Location: AZ
615 posts, read 319,188 times
Reputation: 2499


I once had a contractor tell me this, "know what you get when you buy an old house? An old house." He also delighted in people buying them because he made a lot of money upgrading them. For me personally, unless you are very handy OR very well off financially, I would suggest newer especially when it comes to insulation. I also prefer a house with a dry basement for access to plumbing etc. all depends on taste ultimately. Cheers.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 10-27-2017, 01:51 PM
2,643 posts, read 928,765 times
Reputation: 3260
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.
We bought a house built in 1915. Long story short: I would strongly recommend that, for a house of this age, you hire a professional structural engineer, plumber, and electrician to do an inspection. Home inspectors vary in quality, of course--some are very good, as was ours--but they are not qualified to discern potentially serious problem in these three areas. We hired a structural engineer, which turned out to be an excellent move, and now wished we had hired a plumber and electrician, as well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 01:58 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,889 posts, read 60,056,839 times
Reputation: 27274
If you can't find an older house, that one is probably OK. Is it a style, location and layout that you like?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 02:06 PM
Location: Chicago area
13,230 posts, read 7,304,036 times
Reputation: 50494
We bought a house that is nearly 107 years old now. We've spent the better part of the nearly 30 years we've lived here restoring it. Granted it was a total wreck when we bought it, but I will never live in anything but an old house. You have to be prepared to maintain it. Old houses are demanding mistresses, but if you love it, it's so worth it. We own a 1960's piece of crap rental and a 40's Sears kit house. I'll take the kit house over that 60's piece of garbage any day, but my 1911 foursquare beats them both hands down. I do not want slapped together new construction either. Give me real 2x4's and old growth wood.

Honestly, living in an old house is more of a calling. I love every square inch of mine and all of the time and effort we put into making her beautiful again. You could never build this today.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 02:51 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,889 posts, read 60,056,839 times
Reputation: 27274
Insulation is actually pretty inexpensive and not that destructive.

Here is what is prcy:

Exterior paint - especially if it is wood and needs a lot of TLC prep work. Our cheapest quote for paint is $50,000. So I am panting it in small bits.

Roof if it is tile or metal and especially if there is rot or termite damage.

Plumbing, depending on your plumber. It is more about the damage to the interior of the house than the piping. Sometimes if you use PEX, you can thread it in without much or any damage. If you live in a arm place you can always run it outside too.

Electric wiring. The runs between a switch and a ceiling mounted fixture can be very expensive, especially if you have a terrible electrician who basically takes a chain saw and cuts a trench in the walls/ceiling. It can be done with minimal or no damage, but it is time consuming and sometimes uses a lot of wire.

HVAC - if you have radiators and good piping, you are in great shape for heat. However AC ducting can require you rip out all kinds of walls and floors. You can use high velocity (space-pack) to minimize ducting damage, but you still need returns.

Drainage system for the basement.

Lift the house and install a new higher basement ($20-$40K).

Missing baseboard molding. Salvaged 18" yellow pine baseboard runs around 416 - $18 per foot. one room can easily coast thousands.

Replace wood windows - generally about $250 each. Rarely necessary though.

Here is what is surprisingly inexpensive:

Switching from fuses to breakers.

Adding electrical circuits.

uneven floors (ignore them).

Minor foundation repairs.

Windows, - just fix them and make some invisible storms for the ineterior.

Brick pointing (for small amounts like a limited area or a fiereplace/chiminey - a whole brick house would be expensive).

Rewiring (when it is done right).

refinishing floors - not that expensive and you can diy if you have a good back.

Fixing plaster. Hard to find a plasterer, easy and cheap to fix plaster.

Wall finishes - depends on what you use. reproduction heavy stock wallpaper and things like Lincrusta can get pretty expensive. Professional top notch painters are also very expensive. Cheap painters are - cheap. they will not do as nice a job, but it will look ok for a while. You can also DIY, but you had better hire a painter to teach you at first.

Tile - surprisingly inexpensive if you shop around, both materials and labor.

Carpentry - generally inexpensive comparatively, easy to DIY.

Replace missing wood doors (usually you can find them for around $50 - $250 each. Even ornate ones. The difficulty is finding some that match or at least look decent with your existing doors.

Antique or reproduction hardware, light fixtures or plumbing fixtures. I would nto call it cheap, but you can find good quality for surprisingly low prices at items.

If you buy a house the needs work, you will be working on it in little bits for decades. If you buy one restored already, you will get as good or better construction than a new house. However older homes need more maintenance. Ornate things are harder to keep clean. Older technology was made to be durable with regular maintenance. Newer items are made to be thrown away and replaced when they age. So, newer is easier. You never have to fix things, just remove them and buy a new one.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 02:55 PM
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,983 posts, read 58,469,643 times
Reputation: 29568
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.
It's not the age.
It's mostly about how many have messed with it over the years.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 08:35 PM
25,980 posts, read 50,090,754 times
Reputation: 19498
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
I would think it's nearly impossible to predict what the real estate market for an area will be like in 30-40 years. The age of the house, I think, will be a minor factor affecting that selling price, as long as it remains comparable to its neighbors.

Me? I bought an old house because I'm handy, and I love old houses. I'm trying to preserve as much as I can in my house. I don't plan to replace the 60+ year old furnace until it breaks. An electrician--that I have a great deal of respect for, not just some guy I found in the phone book--suggested that I don't need to replace the knob and tube wiring. Instead, just augment it with new circuits for things with a heavy load, or for things that need a ground. (like appliances and electronics) As long as it hasn't been molested, or covered in insulation, K&T is perfectly safe for lighting. And, of course, I still have the original 115 year old windows. Because I also have storm windows, they are about as efficient as replacements, anyway.

I say all of this for two reasons. One, if you're not handy, the little projects will "nickel and dime" you to death, as you need to call a handyman to do them. Two, take all of those "must do" upgrade lists with a grain of salt.
Great post and underlines a key factor... loving older homes.

I currently own homes from 1910 to 1976... they all have different issues.

Only the 1910 required total renovation but it was bought right with the cost accounted for... and since reno by me there have been zero issues... and that was 10 years ago.

The 1922 home bought from the original owner is a real gem... totally 1922 and unmolested... never had children and she lived their as a widow for 35 years... still had all the original 1922 fixtures and finishes... high leg stove, original bath, kitchen windows central massive gravity furnace... etc.

My concern with older homes is whether they have been subjected to botched or expedient repairs/remodels...

My qualifier is almost all of these homes are located in the very mild SF East Bay climate and there is nothing I can't do myself when it comes to residential construction... also, the homes I keep do not have wood siding!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 10:04 PM
28,268 posts, read 24,881,602 times
Reputation: 9632
We love older homes and have always lived in one. I really enjoy fixing them up.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 10:30 PM
781 posts, read 492,705 times
Reputation: 932
i have an historic treasure - a Henry Trost home at 525 Corto Way in El Paso-- its 107 years old- and solid. Old houses are great if there were built solidly and maintained. The 1970s seemed to have poor construction-- my house will way outlast most of them.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-28-2017, 07:33 AM
Location: SW Florida
9,280 posts, read 4,051,386 times
Reputation: 19263
Originally Posted by Bungalove View Post
What, you didn't notice the lack of closets and storage space when you were looking at the house?

My 90 year old house has only 2 closets for the entire house, and even those are not original. I wish they hadn't been installed either, because I don't like their placement and would have more flexibility if I could just use armoires in those rooms (both bedrooms). Fortunately the kitchen has lots of cabinets, and I have an original Hoosier cabinet and matching pantry as well. I like the flexibility of choosing individual pieces.
Of course I noticed it - this was my late aunt's house. I figured the fact that I now have a garage which I didn't have in my condo would counteract the lack of storage. So far I've had to get creative. I have a shower curtain liner with pockets, have hung up a cabinet in one bathroom, a 4 shelf bookcase thing in the other bathroom and have repurposed a small antique dresser into a place to put tablecloths, placemats, etc. I have discovered you must think outside of the box in an older home with little storage.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Real Estate
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top