In a time when homes are being built as part of a predetermined subdivision design, there is something extra special about a well-built older home…

Older homes can be great investments, but they also take work to maintain and improve. With some research and expert advice, your older home can look rustic and charming while still offering modern-day comfort.

Here are a few points to consider when renovating an older home to make it live-in ready:

Update Plumbing and Electrical

It is very important to have an expert inspect the plumbing and electrical systems in the house. These systems will most likely need to be replaced if they have been untouched for many years. Luckily, these changes can be done without damaging the character of the home.

Change the Windows

Although older windows often look lovely, they cannot provide the same insulation and protection from the elements as newer windows can. They may seem solid and sturdy – but they are not energy efficient, which can add up in extra heating and cooling costs. By doing some research to find the right options for your home, new windows can offer better insulation and just as much charm! Invest in a good window company that can match new windows to the look and feel of your home.

Keep the Flooring if Possible

Older homes typically have some type of hardwood flooring. If you buy a home that is carpeted throughout, make it a priority to check what kind of flooring lies beneath. If it is hardwood – you are in luck because it has been protected under carpeting for all those years! Even the most distressed and scratched up floors can be brought back to life. Do not worry if you cannot remove the imperfections – they add to the story of the home!

Retain the Charming Features

Instead of tearing down the built-in cabinets, the country kitchen, or the non-working fireplace, find a way to make them work for you in the space. Remember, part of the reason why you fell in love with your older home is because of these features. If you remove them the home may lose a lot of its character. Websites like Pinterest can help you find creative ways to utilize some of these features while keeping the vintage charm.

Looking at Older Homes? Consider Staying Away from the Following: 

  • Homes with Extensive Foundation Issues – If the home has issues that call for re-compacting soils or completely replacing the drainage system, it will be very pricy and can damage the home.
  • Homes with Extensive Termite Damage – In extreme cases, termites can cause substantial damage to the structural integrity of a home. If you are aware of termite damage, get a contractor to investigate the level of damage.
  • Poorly Updated Homes – if you are looking at an older home that has had its fair share of home owners, you are likely to encounter varied ‘updates’ and renovations. Certain updates can be very hard to reverse and a lot of the expected charm of a rustic home may be missing because of it. Renovations that were done poorly can be a burden in the long term – make sure to get a home inspector to look at all the renovations and updates to see if they are structurally sound and safe. You may be better off purchasing a home with little to no updates versus a home that has had many random poorly-done updates.

Whether you are in the market for an older home, or have already purchased one and have some questions, I’d be happy to help. Feel free to give me a call at 416-921-1112.