What to Check When Buying an Old Home

Thinking of buying an old home? You might need to think of these potential problems first.

I love old homes: their exposed brickwork, the wooden beams in the ceiling, and the potential they have to become a stunning family home. They have something that modern homes just don’t have.

That’s why so many people choose them over the more contemporary options on the housing market. However, you need to be careful whenever you’re considering buying an old home because there could be problems lurking that will cost money to fix.

This post isn’t about putting you off, just making you aware. You should know what to look for when house hunting. So, here are the things that you should be looking for when buying an old home.

 

A Deteriorating Roof

The roof is the one thing that’s easy to ignore. It’s all the way up there, so you’re not about to get a ladder out and climb on it yourself. There are no obvious signs you can see, but you have to go out of your way to have the roof properly assessed. However, it’s important not to ignore this vital issue. Old homes tend to have roofs that are deteriorating and becoming weaker. If they have been neglected for a long time, work will probably be required.

 

Structural Issues

Structural problems can be very expensive to deal with in some circumstances. Of course, that all depends on what the precise structural problem is. You should always be aware of issues before you sign any documents or hand over any cash. A home’s value can be seriously limited if there are big underlying structural problems. The sooner you find out about them, the better it will be for you. A detailed survey will give you all the information you’re likely to need. Just make sure you pay for the most expensive survey as this will really show up any potential problems.

 

Hazardous Materials

There are a couple of hazardous materials that you should be on the lookout for when you’re scouting out old homes. First and foremost, you should find out if there is any asbestos present in the property. This will need to be removed by a professional team that can get it all done properly and safely. It’s a very dangerous substance so should be taken seriously. On top of that, you should find out if there is any lead in the property.

 

Signs of Woodworm

Woodworm is a problem that’s pretty easy to spot because you will see damage to any wood in the home. It looks like lots of little holes in the wood. This is a sure sign that there’s a problem that needs to be treated as soon as possible. Over time, it weakens the wood and can even lead to major collapses. There are plenty of companies out there that can offer woodworm treatment services. Make the most of them if you do find a problem.

Buying an old home can cause tonnes of problems. Window with crumbling plaster and rotten wood.

Problems With Outdated Plumbing

Old plumbing systems that have seen better days might cause you a lot of problems if you don’t deal with them in the right way. It’s definitely the kind of change that you might want to consider making as soon as you buy a property. A modern plumbing system won’t take away from the home’s period character in any way, but it will have a big impact on how you use and experience your home.

 

Damage Caused by Termites

Termite damage can be just as disastrous as woodworm damage, so you should be sure to look out for that too. Swollen floors and wood that seems to be buckling are two symptoms of a termite problem. Despite the cost, time and disruption associated with getting rid of a termite problem, that work needs to be done so don’t be tempted to put it off.

 

Mould and Mildew

Any walls in the home that have been exposed to too much moisture over the years will likely be affected by mould and mildew. These can cause gradually increasing damage to your home and its structure. You will probably notice the smell as soon as you walk into the property, so seek out the source of the problem with your nose and be sure to get it fixed up as soon as you can.

 

Old homes are great for anyone who enjoys renovation work. It allows you to put your own stamp on the property, and that’s got to be a good thing. However, don’t turn a blind eye to the problems you’re likely to face with a home that was built a long time ago because doing so will only cause you more problems later.

The Best Time to Redecorate Your Bathroom is January!

I know you don’t want to risk losing hot water in January, but it’s actually the best time to redecorate your bathroom.

It’s still cold outside in January, and so the last thing you want to do is cut off your hot water supply and lose the chance of having a nice warm bath. However, January is actually the perfect month in which to redecorate your bathroom for a number of reasons. Read on to find out what they are.

 

Get bargains in the sales

Obviously one of the most important reasons that January is a great time to redecorate your bathroom is the sales.

The January sales are way better than any bank holiday offers that you might come across later in the year for the simple fact that they cover all type of products. That means not only are bathroom suites and paints discounted, but you can also achieve some huge savings on more specialised items like towels, shower curtains, and even made-to-measure blinds.

All you need to do is check out Make My Blinds and other stores like them online to see just how much you can save. Remember the more you save, the closer you get to having your dream bathroom without clearing out your bank account.

 

You’ve joined the gym anyway

January is a great time to redecorate your bathroom because it’s the time of year you are most likely to have joined a gym. Bear with me here, as there is some real logic to this if you think about it.

If you’re having your bathroom done, it means you can’t use it, at least for a few days. That means you will have to shower somewhere else, and where better to do this than at the gym every morning after your workout and before work? You won’t even have to pay extra for a gym membership as, like everyone else in the country, you’ll have signed up to get rid of the Christmas excess anyway! Free showers, perfect!

 

Redecorate your bathroom in January because you can use the gym showers instead. Picture of a shower head with water coming out.

 

No guests to worry about

January is also a great month to do any bathroom renovations because everyone has returned to their own homes after Christmas. You’re done with entertaining tonnes of neighbours and family members.

That means there will be no guests to disrupt the household and you can get on with ripping your bathroom out, putting the new one in, and not worrying that it’ll add to your household stresses.

 

No going out saves money and time

You have to remember that January is usually a fairly boring and uneventful month. Everyone’s recovering from Christmas so there’s not much going on. That means any money you save on going out can be put towards the discounted cost of redecorating your bathroom space.

The best bit is that you will have loads of energy to get the project completed too because there will be no hangovers on a Saturday or Sunday morning to worry about either.

 

Home Improvements: DIY Or Call In The Pros?

Now that we’ve entered into a new year, one of the things that’s going to be pretty high on a lot of people’s list of priorities is home improvements.

Whether they want to sell their home or simply use the space they have more effectively, the new year often gets people thinking about the things they could do in order to get a little bit more out of their home.

And when people start to think about this, there’s one question that comes to mind above pretty much all others: do you deal with it yourself or do you bring in a professional? Here are a few things that you can consider in order to make that decision just a little bit easier.

 

Money

Money is almost always the biggest factor that people consider when deciding if they can handle a home improvement project themselves. Let’s face it, most large-scale home improvement projects are going to end up being pretty pricey when you consider the labour costs involved.

However, doing it yourself may not work out that much cheaper since you’re going to end up having to pay for all of the materials yourself, as well as pay for any tools that you might need but don’t have. At least with builders, you’re going to know what you’re paying right at the start rather than having your budget spiral way out of control.

 

Time

The other important issue is one of exactly how long a project is going to take. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to spend their days on a building site for months on end.

If you try to deal with the project yourself, then it could end up taking a long time whereas professionals are more likely to get things done more quickly.

Then again, if time isn’t really an issue for you, then you might decide that the DIY approach is better.

 

Expertise

The reality is that professional builders are almost always going to have greater expertise than any amateur and when it comes to your home you might decide that you don’t want to take the risk of making mistakes.

If you do decide to go the DIY route then there are plenty of resources out there that you can use. There’s information online about practically everything, and no matter what your project calls for, you’ll be able to find some way to learn about it. Just remember that knowing how to do something and actually being able to put it into practice aren’t always the same things.

 

You can’t often get all of these three things together. Someone who has good expertise might be quick, and will do a good job but won’t come cheap. You can set a low budget, but the job might take much longer, especially if you’re doing a lot yourself. Think about what your biggest priority is. If you want the job done quickly, you may end up paying more.

There are going to be those who know exactly what they’re doing and can handle any project, no matter how big it is, and there are others who have so little DIY expertise that they will want to call in a professional no matter what.

Most of us exist somewhere in the middle and having these things to think about can make the decision of whether or not to bring in a professional or to handle it yourself that much simpler.

 

How to fund a home renovation

Financing a home renovation or extension can be a challenge.

Most people save up for weeks or even months to get enough money for a single renovation. So you may be wondering how you could realistically fund your project. In this article, we’re going to describe a couple of acceptable ways to fund a home renovation.

 

Use your savings

Once you start putting money into your savings, it can add up quickly. Instead of letting your money just sit in a bank account ‘for a rainy day’, use it.

Renovations can be expensive which is why people tend to save up a lot of money just to pay for them.

To help remedy this, your savings account could pay for the entire job. Or you could put some funds towards the renovation to offset the costs that you have to pay from your own ages and salary.

The point of a savings account is to have money for when you need it. If your renovation counts as a needed improvement, there’s no shame in breaking out the piggy bank.

 

Take out a loan

There aren’t many situations where it’s acceptable to take out a loan for the sake of a renovation.

However, if you require an urgent renovation then it does warrant the need for emergency funds. In this case, it’s perfectly acceptable to take out a loan (assuming you can pay for it before the interest piles on) for the sake of a home renovation.

If you’re dealing with bad credit history, you can take out adverse credit loans to help you pay for the renovation. In short, only consider taking out a loan if you need to fix something urgently.

Don’t rely on loans as a means to pay for a renovation that you want for the sake of luxury.

 

Doing it yourself

Although this isn’t a way to fund a home renovation, it’s a much cheaper way to get the job done. You don’t need to spend money on professional services all the time. Occasionally, you require someone with experience. It’s absolutely recommended to use a professional for some aspects like wiring or electric. But you can save a lot of money if done correctly.

If you want to save money and learn how to repair and maintain different parts of your home, then DIY training is perhaps the easiest way to do so.

You learn from your mistakes more than a book, so hands-on experience is always appreciated. As long as you have someone supervising or at least monitoring what you’re doing, you’ll find that it’s incredibly easy to get DIY work done as long as you put your mind to it.

 

Out of all the methods you might have to fund a home renovation, these three are arguably the most common and should be used when possible.

How to avoid house renovation disasters

Our house renovation did not always go to plan, so here are some tips on how to avoid house renovation disasters. Hopefully, I can help a few people out, and they can avoid making the same mistakes that we did.

Making a stud wall

We ‘found’ an old doorway that had clearly been boarded up a few years ago. Our house must have originally had a hallway, and this would have been the door that ran from the back of the hall into the kitchen. It had been boarded up with chipboard which couldn’t be plastered over.

This set us back a couple of weeks as Jay had to make a stud wall himself, which he had never done before. It would have been fluke to get it right first time, so it had to come down and be built again. Luckily, Jay had learnt from his mistake and got it perfect the second time, using the right tools

The floor had to be levelled twice

With a house, know that nothing is going to be straight. Literally, none of our walls are straight, and our floors weren’t level enough for the wooden flooring in the kitchen. It also didn’t help that cement had been used to glue the tiles to the floor.

When Jay was lifting them up, a huge metre-wide chunk of concrete came up with the tiles. This had to be filled in with concrete, and then the floor was properly levelled.

But even after one ‘go’ of levelling it wasn’t level, so we had to do it again.

avoid house renovation disasters for mess

Photo by Nolan Issac on Unsplash

Some of the plastering had to be redone

Thanks to our wonky walls, the plastering was done twice to try and level them out. Some walls were fine to be left, but our chimney breast was visibly out of line. It was re-plastered to bring it straight with the other side.

This doesn’t sound like a big job, but it meant we had to wait another week for it to dry before we could emulsion the walls.

Some of our skirting didn’t even touch parts of the wall, because it was so out of line, so we had to fill this in afterwards with caulk.

The radiators went on before the skirting board

This is a logistics problem that no one thought through. It wasn’t too much of a problem. It just meant me and Jay were on our hands and knees with a laser level. We had to get the skirting cut straight and then nailed on correctly.

Top tip to avoid house renovation disasters: try and paint the skirting before it goes on the walls. If you have a workbench, balance the skirting on it and prime and gloss it. It might take a couple of days, but when the skirting is on the wall, it’s difficult to paint it accurately whilst crawling on the floor. I did get some on the freshly-painted walls (ssh, don’t tell Jay).

Always leave a toilet in when renovating the bathroom

Even if you have to plumb it in again at the end of every day, it’s crucial that you leave the toilet in. I had to use my neighbours’ for around 8 weeks. Luckily, we weren’t living there full time, and Jay often used my flower beds instead (thanks).

Photo by Paco S on Unsplash

Keep every single receipt

The amount of money we have probably wasted because we wanted to take something back, that we didn’t use, is probably ridiculous.

Luckily, places such as Wickes have a six-month return policy, so you still have time to find that receipt even four months later.

If you’re lazy, it’s best to stockpile things that need to go back, so you can do it in one trip.

I hope these tips on how to avoid house renovation disasters helps you somewhat! Really think about the order of things logically to avoid making things more difficult for yourself. You wouldn’t put the flooring in and then paint the ceiling!

Any other tips you’d add? Let me know in the comments.