Eclectic Homes

Considering a Fixer-Upper? 15 Questions to Ask First

Many people share the identical dream: find an cute fixer-upper at a great location and set out to make it swoonworthy. But when the budget isn’t infinite, it becomes much more important to understand what to search for before buying a home that requires a great deal of work. Older homes often have underlying safety and building issues, and you’ll be able to save a great deal of time and money by looking for them.

Here we will also discuss how to recognize what is valuable in your period home, and how you can preserve its charm in your remodel.

Before Photo

Globus Builder

Before you dive into, look closely in the inspection report, talk to your contractor and examine the background of the home and the area. Wade Palmer of WIN Home Inspection Services and overall contractor Greg Blea gave me the lowdown on the 15 most crucial questions to ask.

Historical Concepts

1. What’s your budget? For some remodels of historic houses, there is a sizable budget and the commendable goal of preserving an architectural stone, regardless of the price. I will be focusing on projects with small budgets in this ideabook. A number of the questions are still the same, however, the choices about how to proceed are distinct once the budget is limited.

Rybak Architecture & Development, P.C.

2. Is it at a historic district? If so, the plan and permit processes can be longer and more expensive, and using the required historically appropriate materials may add considerably to the price. But a secure community and architecturally unique houses often mean more consistent — and climbing — property values.

3. What’s the weather in the area and the planned use of this building? A home for a family of four at a wintry climate will require a distinct and costlier way than a vacation cottage that’s used only in the summertime. To keep down costs, plan for building during the best weather.

Sara Bates

4. Does the home have bones? Some things are irreplaceable or would cost a fortune. Older wood floors, by way of instance, have higher colour and character compared to freshly milled floors. Strong wood paneling, doors and trim are expensive to replace. Elaborate millwork could not be possible to find or replace.

CertaPro Painters of Seattle

5. Is there lead-based paint? Most countries now require protective actions for dealing with lead-based paint. These actions require training and certification by the state, along with the time-consuming process can raise the price of a small renovation.

Amity Environmental Inc..

6. What about asbestos? Asbestos was commonly used in older houses, often in insulation, siding, flooring and other elements. It must be removed by a certified abatement team, or sometimes it could be encapsulated. Nonetheless, it isn’t some thing to tackle yourself. Professionals advise caring for asbestos in the proper way, since it will raise the value and earnings potential of your home, in addition to its safety.

Ventana Construction LLC

7. What electric upgrades are necessary? Older homes often do not have safety devices like ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Older wiring and some electric panels may create a fire hazard as well. Upgrading to a modern grounded system can be quite expensive, depending on the accessibility accessible for wiring.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

8. Can you integrate existing tile, fixtures and finishes? The demolition and remodeling of toilets is one of the bigger expenses of a remodel, so it is often better to salvage whatever you can if money is a problem.

Roots and Rafters

9. What about the plumbing? Cast iron and galvanized piping should be replaced after about 50 years to guarantee decent water quality and to protect against leaking. Should you maintain old pipes, know that it may be exceedingly hard to connect new pipes to an older system. If you’re looking to save money on the remodel of an older home, try to maintain your plumbing fixtures at the same site.

Pal + Smith

10. Is there beautiful, recognized landscaping around the property? Whenever possible, organize construction to save get the most out of older, healthy trees and plantings. They’re worth, and they add value to your home.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

11. Is the home built on a sturdy foundation? Does the home need a new foundation or repairs to the existing one? Is there a crawl space? Is water seeping into the basement or crawl space? Are the floors slanted and record, or are there visible cracks? Foundation repairs are expensive and can hinder your ability to secure funding, so find out what you can about current conditions prior to buying.

Know Your Own House: What Makes Your Home’s Foundation

Northshore Renovations

12. What shape are the windows in? Is there rot from the window frames? Are the frames taken? When the windows have been in very poor shape, it is probably better to replace them with modern ones that have double glazing and a greater R-value (a measure of the efficiency of insulation).

When the previous windows are in decent shape or have an irregular shape, size or true divided lights, then consider putting the money and hours into rescue them. It is going to probably be expensive to replace them with something comparable.


13. What’s the state of the roofing? Older homes often have a rotten cedar shake or shingle roof. If you are thinking about replacing the roofing, remember that the structure may need to be strengthened to accommodate the burden of this new substance, or may need to have venting added.

Ultimate Homes of Utah

14. What is happening in the mechanical room? When the home has an old oil furnace, then it may be costly to eliminate the aboveground or underground oil tank.

How old would be the air conditioning system and the water heater? Find out, so you can be prepared to replace them if needed.

15. In case you have a small older home, can you utilize small stuff in the remodel? Less may be more in certain cases; it often works best to highlight the simple lines of a home rather than fight them.

There’s a good deal of work involved in a fixer-upper. But if you are well prepared for the time, effort and cost, the result can be well worth it.

Tell us What do you wish you knew before purchasing your fixer-upper?

More: 100 Contractor Suggestions to Read Before You Remodel

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