Something old? Something new?
2018 may be a little harder for homebuyers to find a house. National home prices have been increasing and are forecast to rise 4.8%.1 With fewer new homes coming on the market, an older home may be an attractive option. The good news is that older homes may come with a lower price tag.
Three key things to consider when buying an older home
Define the terms. The real age of a building generally depends on where it is in the country. An East Coast brownstone may be much older than an 80's condo in Los Angeles, but it may have sought-after highlights like old-world craftsmanship or architectural features in its favor. The simple fact is that old is a relative term depending on location and other factors.
Think about renovations. When you're looking at older properties, it's important to weigh what you can and can't live without. You may think that an up-to-the-minute kitchen or bathroom is a must-have. In that case, consider what renovations (either now or in the future) may cost you.
Find the right home inspector. If you're thinking about buying an older home, the home inspection process can be crucial. Spend the extra time and money to find an inspector who is well-versed in the type of home you're thinking of buying.
Some things to watch out for:
- Are the electrical wiring and plumbing the same age as the property or have they been updated?
- Older foundations may have shifted. Check for cracks in exterior and supporting walls.
- Building codes are constantly evolving. Older properties may have been constructed with materials we now know to be hazardous, such as lead paint or asbestos.
- Make sure that the property has adequate insulation — it wasn't always a priority back in the day.
An older home may have charm and character, but potential additional costs need to be weighed against the asking price. Talk to me about what financing options may be available.