Checklist ~ When Buying An Older Property

My home was build in the late 1920s, making it nearly 100 years old. It’s fair to say that although I love period properties, there is a lot of things that you should consider before buying one.

To be frank, unless they’ve had gentle and caring owners, old houses are money pits. For us, there is always something that needs doing and usually, it unveils another three jobs whenever we get started on any work.

Having said that, the character with an older home is second to none.

Modern houses just don’t feel the same. Decisions like these are down to finances and personal preference.

Full disclosure, a survey won’t show everything wrong with a house. You only really get to know it after living there. We had no idea about some of the costs involved in restoring and maintaining an older home. So I thought I’d share some tips on what to think about.

My intention isn’t to put you off an older home, just to help you go in with your eyes open.

Here’s what you need to look out for if you are moving into an older property. These are things that could end up costing a lot of money if there is something awry.

  • Electrics– does it need rewiring? If you are renting this won’t apply as landlords have to keep up to date with safety legalisation
  • Roof– what state is it in. Really old roof tiles can be hard to find. You will be astounded at all the different types if this ever happens to you, and of course, if there have been repairs but the tiles haven’t fitted together properly then there will be leaks.
  • Which brings me onto flat roofs. Common in the 70s and 80s extensions, but these are notorious for leaking. When we first moved into this house there were leaks in three different places on one roof.
  • Any extensions or other restructuring work, like loft conversions. Ideally, you want to see details of the work, who did it, what guarantees are in place.
  • Windows. What state are they in now? To replace sash windows is expensive, think about the long-term commitment to a house and why you love it. If one of the reasons is the windows then seriously consider getting a quote for replacement before you make any offers. Just so you’re informed.
  • Damp, self-explanatory but any trapped moisture will weaken the structure of the house.
  • Fire doors/regulations. For example doors into loft extensions or garages, you might need to comply with new laws.
  • Chimney – birds love old chimneys for nesting. Consider if these are something you want to use or block off.
  • Fireplaces, will a gas fire need to be taken out? Will you want to reopen up a previously boarded up fireplace?
  • Plasterwork. Are textured wallpapers hiding problem plaster? Plaster can blow or crumble with age.
  • Facias, pipes and guttering. A dull but important element of a home.
  • Rendering on the outside of the house and the possible paint maintenance attached to this.
  • Airflow. Dry rot can be caused by lack of ventilation.
  • Lead pipes. Yes, although all mainline pipes are no longer lead, sometimes the pipe running off it and inside your home can still be lead.
  • Boiler, check it works! How old is it? Will it need replacing soon?

A lot to think about here!!

Do share below anything that I might’ve missed. I’m sure there are many other things to look out for in Period Property and older homes.

buying an period property problems checklist

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6 Comments

  1. Tilly
    November 8, 2018 / 9:35 am

    Fireplaces!

    • Susie
      Author
      November 8, 2018 / 10:10 am

      Added it to the list!

  2. Kirsty
    November 9, 2018 / 10:21 am

    Kinda wish I had read this 3 years ago! We had to do it alllllll!!!!!

    • Susie
      Author
      November 9, 2018 / 10:30 am

      Hahaha- tell me about it!

  3. November 9, 2018 / 1:22 pm

    I wish I’d have known these things when I went to buy my house 3 years ago!!

    Ours was built in the 1900s so it’s definitely an old property but like you I didn’t want a modern property, they have lower ceilings, feel small and just don’t have the same character as older properties. Having said that I’ve definitely discovered some of the above since living there- namely damp/condensation, we’ve got some lead pipes still, terrible plaster, and our electrics were shocking. Our electrician uncovered more and more horrendous practices which we’ve fixed and we will need a rewire in a few years 🙁

    Two things I would also say to think about/watch out for – Wifi signal. Our router is in the front of the house and the signal is so bad at the back we have to use an extender.

    Also artex and asbestos – we had an artex ceiling (blergh) – can be skimmed over (probably better than removing) and some asbestos in our loft. Very dangerous and shouldn’t be removed unless by a professional (which is also not cheap! )

    • Susie
      Author
      November 10, 2018 / 3:35 pm

      Wow- You’ve been through a lot then! I’ll be adding these to the list!

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