The Hidden Costs Of Buying An Old House

Old houses come with a charm that attracts many buyers.

But those on a tight budget should be wary – old houses require a lot more maintenance than newer ones. Here are just some of the hidden costs of buying an old house that owners may not realise.

Expensive gas bills

Most new properties are built with every type of insulation going from double glazing to pipe insulation to cavity wall insulation. Old properties may have none of this insulation causing them to lose heat faster. Big old homes are particularly renowned for their high gas bills – their large rooms make them slower to heat up.

You can either put up with these high gas bills or invest in insulation. A new boiler may also be in order. The latter is better if you’re staying at the property long-term, although installing insulation may add some value to your home that could make up for costs.

This is the first winter in our 1970s home, and our loft insulation is torn up newspaper. Safe to say, it’s not doing very much. We’re currently trying to invest in some proper loft insulation to keep us properly toasty. Our boiler has just reached the 10-year mark, so we might be getting a combi boiler which is more economical and cheaper to run.

 

General repairs

Old homes have a lot of wear and tear to deal with. Some of this could be aesthetic such as touching up an old paint job or replacing a worn linoleum floor. Some could be more important such as a plumbing leak or leaky roof.

Other repairs may be a matter of emergency such as subsidence and bad cracks in the walls. Before buying an old property, it’s always worth hiring a chartered building surveyor who can warn you of some of these future costs. You don’t want to move into a house that could need major reconstruction in a few years. This is one of the biggest hidden costs of buying an old house.

 

Fixture updates

An old home may have older fixtures. In terms of kitchen appliances, this could result in less energy efficient fixtures such as an old oven or washing machine that may need to be updated. An old toilet may use up more water per flush, whilst baths and sinks may simply look mottled.

Replacing these fixtures can add up costs. Of course you may get lucky and find an old property which has recently had all its fixtures updated by the previous owner.

 

 

Mould

Old properties are generally not as waterproof. Damp leaking through cracks in the walls and out of old pipes can cause damp, which may then lead to mould. You can remove mould yourself, but in serious cases you may want to hire a professional.

 

Hazardous substances

Some construction materials that were commonplace years ago have since become banned due to their health risks. Whilst newer properties cannot be built with these materials, older properties may still have these materials lurking in the walls.

Asbestos is one of the more renowned hazardous materials – a fire-proof insulator that has since been shown to be carcinogenic if inhaled. Similarly, lead was often used in old houses in paint and even pipes. You could end up paying a hazardous materials removal company a lot of money to get these materials removed.

On top of these materials, there are poisonous gases that may need to be checked for – a carbon monoxide monitor could be useful for spotting a potentially deadly gas leak from old pipes, whilst an airtight cellar or foundations could help to prevent radon from leaking in.

All of these hidden costs of buying an old property need to be properly fixed. They cannot be fixed with temporary measures. Put the time in to fix them properly, and your home will be leak-free and toasty all winter.

7 House Installations for Winter

Home improvement can feel like a massive task.

You feel like there is always another job and each one is larger than the next. There are, however, smaller things that you can do that will help your house. They will help to keep it warmer, free from damp and in a generally better condition. These 7 house installations for winter will protect your home. 

 

Insulation

If you’re worried about the lack of insulation in your house, then consider getting a quote for more to be installed. You can get a professional in, but this can be a bit pricey. Instead, you might consider purchasing a roll of insulation from a DIY shop.

Remember you’ll need goggles and facemask when fitting it, but other than that adding the insulation isn’t a big job. Having more insulation in your house will help it to stay warm inside and stop the cold from getting in as easily. This might even save you money.

Other places to add extra layers of insulation include your hot water pipes and your boiler. This will keep your hot water warm for longer and mean that is available when you need it.

 

Double Glazing

If you don’t already, then you should consider getting double glazing. Me and Jay got lucky that our house was fitted with them just a few years before we bought it.

It makes a massive difference to how warm your house stays over the winter months and could save you on your heating bills. This will make your house a lot more energy efficient and means that you’ll have fewer expenses over the winter. If you do choose to get double glazing installed, consider whether you need to have the exterior of the house renovated, too.

Getting this done at the same time could help you to tick off multiple jobs at once. If you choose to get some weather-resistant fibreglass like the products provided by Architectural Fibreglass Mouldings Ltd, then your house will be ready for whatever the winter throws at it.

 

Curtains

A great way to warm the house in winter is to open your curtains early in the morning. This lets in sunlight which will naturally help to warm your rooms.

However, it is just as important that you close them when it starts to get dark and the outside temperature begins to drop. This will help to lock in the heat you have generated throughout the day. If you don’t already, consider getting some extra thick curtains to hang in winter as these will do a better job of retaining heat than regular ones.

After months of having cellotaped curtains hanging, I’m going curtain/blind shopping this weekend! Our large living room window has a big radiator underneath it, meaning we can’t get full length curtains. We’ve decided to go for a fabric blind that pulls down, and having fake curtains hanging around the window that don’t close.

 

Cover Floorboards

If you have exposed floorboards, then you’ll be losing heat.

You don’t have to carpet your house, but a rug comes in handy. You’ll especially want to cover any floorboards in your sitting area and bedroom as you’ll likely spend the most time in these rooms.

You can buy a rug that matches the current design of the room. If you want to, you could get a different one for summer and winter that are of a different style and thickness. If you haven’t tried it yet and are still struggling to keep your house warm, then get a few rugs, and it will definitely help.

 

Install An Extractor Fan In The Kitchen

A lot of homeowners still use an open window as the main way of removing steam during cooking. This is not a good solution, especially in winter.

In winter you don’t want to let the cold in or the heat out, so you are less likely to open the window and let the steam from cooking escape. This means that added moisture sits in your house and can cause damp, mould and other unpleasant difficulties.

If you don’t have an extractor fan, then you should get one installed. It will suck up all of the moisture produced while cooking and you won’t need to open the window any longer. It sits just above the oven, and many even come with a light fitting to make cooking in the evening that much easier.

 

Replace Doors

All of the doors in your house will contribute to locking in heat in their own way.

Your front and back doors are the first line of defence for your house when it comes to the cold. If you feel like your exterior doors are doing a poor job of keeping the heat in and the cold out, then consider getting them replaced. It is a small change that could make a big difference.

Inside your house, your doors will help keep the warm air inside each specific room. For example, your bedroom door will help keep you warm at night. If you feel like these doors are not adequate then again replacing them could prove to make a big difference for how well heated your house remains throughout the winter months.

You might also want to replace your doors if you feel like a change or they are starting to look old and tatty.

 

Fix or Replace Your Roof

If you’ve noticed cracked tiles or feel like you are losing heat through your roof, then it could be a sign you need it fixing or replacing entirely.

If you have confirmed that there is an issue, then your best bet is it hire a professional to take a look. They will be able to assess what the damages are, give you a quote and let you know in detail what improvements need to be completed.

You could take a shot at fixing and replacing tiles yourself, but the last thing you want to do it cause more damage and for it to cost you more in the long run. If you do decide to take a stab at fixing your roof, make sure there is someone around to hold the ladder and that you are safe on the roof.

The same principle will apply to any shingles or other kinds of roofing you have. Any cracks or breaks in the can cause leaks, damp and other major issues for your house. Something you don’t want any time of year but are especially bad in winter.

 

Dressing your home for the cold weather

Winter is approaching which means you need to start dressing your home for the cold weather.

Time goes faster and faster, and the cold creeps up on us so quickly. It only seems like a few weeks ago that the sun was out and everyone was sipping cold drinks in their back gardens. Now there’s a pretty distinct chill in the air.

Of course, for a lot of people, this is fantastic news! It means that sweater weather is finally here, we get to see the beauty of the leaves changing, and yes, pumpkin spice lattes are back on the menu. The cold is only ever really fun if you’re able to snuggle up somewhere warm to escape from it. With that in mind, here are a few simple ways to get your home nice and cosy for the winter.

Invest in a great blanket

thick blanket with man reading book

Everyone needs a great blanket as a staple home accessory. It’s one of those things that should really come with your home when you buy it. It’s just as necessary as a sofa, a bed, or a decent set of pots and pans. If you don’t have a thick, fuzzy blanket that you can hide under when the cold weather hits, then you’re never going to be able to get cosy during the winter months. They can also double up as a home accessory. Have it thrown over your sofa as decor, and pull it over you when you want to stick a movie on.

There are plenty of options and what you choose is entirely up to you. Just make sure that it’s thick enough to keep the cold out, soft enough that you’re able to get comfortable and preferably big enough that you and your family can all get snuggled up underneath!

Double glaze your windows

Double glazing is one of those things that people have a tendency not to really think about. After all, it’s hardly the most glamorous of home improvements. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not incredibly important.

If you don’t have double glazing, your home will be leaking warmth like a boat with a hole in. This is going to cost you far more money on your heating bill than you would otherwise have to pay. Make sure that all of your windows are double glazed before the cold weather arrives in earnest. It may be a large upfront cost, but overtime it will save you on your heating bills.

Make sure your home is warm

feet up with slipper, cup of tea, blanket and warm fire.

You won’t worry about heat escaping if you can’t warm your home up in the first place. Your radiators won’t have been on at all during the summer, so it’s worth checking them over to make sure that they work before winter really sets in. Sometimes you’ll just need to bleed the radiators and other times they might need replacing entirely. If that’s the case then somewhere like Only Radiators is perfect. That way you can keep your house warm while also making sure that it stays stylish and well designed.

 

There really is nothing quite so wonderful as being able to get warm and cosy at home and watch the cold weather rage outside your window. So grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate, put on your comfiest pair of slippers, and start dressing your home for the cold weather!