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Four Things You Must Consider When Buying Any Older Home

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There are plenty of unique design opportunities in older homes, making them an attractive investment opportunity for those who don't mind a bit of DIY work. Some find the allure of an older home in the design aspects already present in the house, while others relish the chance to pick up an affordable home on the market and improve it over time.

While there are many older homes on the market that can be great investments, not all older homes are worth considering – especially if you're on a tight budget. Let's take a look at four specific home elements you should carefully inspect when shopping if you don't want to spend lots of money repairing and improving.


Arguably one of the most important elements of any home, the roof helps protect both the home and its inhabitants. Designed to shield the home from excessive wear and tear, the roof can slowly become damaged itself, needing periodic repairs to guarantee the structural integrity of the home.

Northface Construction estimates that even basic homes can require $10,000 in materials and labor to replace an old roof. Larger homes and/or those with more complex designs can be even pricier. Ultimately, a cheap fixer-upper can turn into an expensive nightmare if you purchase a home with a bad roof. 


Just as important as the roof, the siding of a home helps shield it from unnecessary weathering and helps add an additional layer of insulation to the home. Many older homes were not built with the latter quality in mind, and even more have wear and tear on the siding that can compromise the structure of the home to the elements.

Replacing the siding and/or patching up damaged areas underneath the home's exterior can easily reach $10,000, making it a less-than-ideal repair for those looking to purchase an older home that needs minimal TLC. 

HVAC Installation

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning are critical aspects of any modern home – but they haven't always been in-demand. Older homes may be designed with inferior ventilation or no heating and/or cooling systems at all, meaning major repairs and installation will be needed.

The cost of a central heating and cooling system can easily cost a couple thousand dollars, but the additional labor of installing ventilation throughout the home will add up to even more. For a simple furnace installation, you could be looking at more than $5,000. Double that figure for a complete HVAC installation.

Plumbing and Septic Systems

Depending on where the home is located, you may have sewer access or require the use of a septic tank. In the latter case, older homes often need new septic tanks installed in order to be up to par and safe. A new septic system can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000, depending on a variety of variables. This is not necessarily something that can be assessed up-close and personal, but a plumber's evaluation prior to any purchase can determine the condition of the system.

Additionally, plumbing throughout the home can be an equally expensive issue. Old pipes corrode and seals break and over time, so these elements will all need to be replaced.

There are many expensive home repairs that inevitably must be made on all homes, but purchasing an older home can present multiple, complicated repair jobs all at once. To avoid biting off more than you can chew (or afford), be sure to inspect the siding, roofing, plumbing and HVAC systems intensively before making your decision.

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