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10 Things to consider when buying an older property

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By : James Hardy    99 or more times read
Buying an older property can have its advantages and disadvantages; here are a few things to think about when considering the purchase of a ‘character’ or older property:

1. Age – find out exactly how old the property is. This information should be available on the deeds (either in original paper form, or more recently deeds are being scanned and stored on-line). If you cannot find the information on any paperwork, it may be worth asking for the opinion of an experienced architectural historian.

2. Structure – check that the foundations of the property are ok; after all, any cosmetic features are just that – cosmetic, it is more important to find out if a building is structurally sound. If you are not sure, employ the services of a qualified home inspector. Also note, the structure of a property is generally assessed during the survey stage.

3. Pipes/plumbing – find out how old the plumbing is, and check that all of the taps etc. are working ok. The replacement of plumbing in old bathrooms and kitchens can be expensive, so take this into consideration.

4. Electrics – as with the plumbing, find out how old the electrical system is in the house. Bear in mind that a full standard re-wire can cost upwards of 2k for a smaller property. A full safety check should be performed on all wires, sockets and connections.

5. Heating – does the house have central heating and/or air conditioning? An old boiler can be very expensive to run, and a new installation will add to your costs. Ask to see any safety certificates available.

6. Kitchen – check the kitchen appliances, generally speaking, people spend a lot of time in the kitchen area, and any required upgrades should be factored into the purchase price.

7. Roof – an area often overlooked – quite literally! Older properties may have had many repairs over the years. Check that the general condition of a roof is good, although the occasional slate replacement won’t break the bank; a full re-roof can be expensive.

8. Windows – as with the roof, check the general state of the windows, for any potential repairs. Also bear in mind that some ‘graded’ properties have restrictions on the type of windows allowed in the property, therefore you may be unable to change them, for example to newer UPVC frames.

9. Walls – Keep an eye out for cracks and damp, and find out if the house contains the original plaster. Generally speaking, older plaster is retained to add to insulation, however, you need to ensure that major repairs are not on the cards, especially with very old properties.

10. Floors – In older properties, the flooring may be original, check for any cracks or ‘sagging’ areas. A carpet can be easily changed, but you need to check that the floor is even, with no obvious signs of damage.
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