When wanting to buy a house there are so many different criteria that people look for. Some folk want to get their hands on a perfectly finished place in a well-to-do neighbourhood. Others want to buy in neighbourhoods that are regarded as up and coming. Other people, generally those who have a knack for DIY, like the idea of a fixer upper – something that is a little run down and derelict but which, with the right amount of effort and love, can be spruced up and repaired. This route is one that often results in big value being added to the property, although there can be dangers and hazards encountered along the way. If you are thinking about going the fixer upper route, here are a few things that you might want to look out for along the way.
Old often equals unhealthy
The world has changed a lot in recent times and one of the areas where the greatest progress has been made is in the realm of health and safety. Back in the day lots of bad things were done because people didn’t realise that they were harmful or dangerous. We are talking about hazardous materials like lead which used to be in unhealthy doses in pipes and paints. Old houses may still have such pipes. Another thing you may have to factor in is asbestos clearance. This is another extremely carcinogenic and dangerous substance that was once used widely in buildings.
Fixing a house up is something that almost anyone with a knack for DIY can do. A bit of carpentry, a coat of paint and maybe even a bit of masonry or tiling skills. But the electrics can be a nightmare to tackle, especially if the house needs to be completely rewired. A badly wired house is a potential disaster so make sure that you have the electrics properly inspected before you make an offer on the place. If there are corroded conduits or exposed wires the danger of short circuits and electrics fires is real – and the cost of replacing the wiring is potentially large.
At first glance it is often easy to miss some of the biggest issues in old houses. Especially because many of them (as was the case with the electrics above) are hidden. Look at the roof beams and trusses by climbing up into the ceiling space to inspect what is up there. If there is a beetle or termite infestation it is often not easy to spot. But the results are disastrous and can mean that the entire roof needs to be replaced. Again, this may be something that you can do, but it is probably beyond the expertise of most do it yourself enthusiasts and a specialist roofer will have to be called in. The same applies to the floor – check it out properly. If it is wooden and if there are beams involved, there can be lots of hidden expenses and concerns tucked away neatly below the floorboards.