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3 months ago in
What considerations need to be kept in mind when buying a Victorian house?
With a house that is over 120 years old, what should a prospective buyer be looking for?
The first thing is the structure. Foundation, floors, walls, ceilings and roof. Is the foundation concrete or brick or stone or ...dirt? Are the floors flat and level or do they rollercoaster a bit? Walls straight and true or bulging, plaster cracking and windows stuck? Ceilings solid and flat or plaster falling down? Roof in good shape and gutters /downspouts too? Second is the mechanical and electrical. What is the plumbing made of and has it been updated. Partially updated? Has the heating system been updated? How and where do ducts run to the upper floor(s)? Is there adequate heat and cooling. What about insulation? Is there knob and tube wiring anywhere or is the electrical system modernized? Or did they fix just what they could see?
Once the basic functions of the house check out OK, then you can move to interior function and cosmetics. Are bathrooms modernized or remodeled? What about the kitchen? The kitchen was a place for the servant, so originally no amenities were added there. We are different now and a modern kitchen is a gathering place. Then we totally get into areas OS design and taste...no dispute. But do you agree with the solutions applied by the previous owners to design problems? Did they really put a steel and glass staircase into a Victorian (seen it done!)?
None of the things I've mentioned are insurmountable...restoration of historic properties requires a great deal of patience and money. A good deal on the purchase up front will make restoration more enticing. Hard work ahead if you go that route. Buying a finished restoration? Make sure all above has been done.. And well done!
3 months ago
Ironwood Builders has nailed it as usual.
Ask to see copies of the utility bills for the last year. Prevents sticker shock on heating bills.
There will certainly be lead paint and maybe asbestos.
The more hips and valleys in the roof, the more expensive it will be to re-roof.
Keep a list of positives and negatives. It will help keep things in perspective. Make sure you get a home inspection, and if you buy the house, get a home warranty.
3 months ago
If you have children or plan to get a lead inspection - they are not required in all states. Be aware of lead dust issues if replacing windows or renovating or repainting the exterior.
If the walls are covered in wallpaper try to find out what's behind it - can it be peeled off or are you going to be left with a wall crumbling down.
I don't mean to insult your intelligence, but i throw this out there if you are younger perhaps buying your first home - if the house needs a lot of renovations just try to have an idea of what is needed and cost before you get in over your head. Will you be spending every penny of disposable income fixing your house and not enjoying life? I say this only because as newlyweds my husband and I made this mistake. We ended up selling the house and several years later bought a Victorian but were in a much better position to deal with it and the house was in better shape. My neighbors beautiful Victorian is literally falling down around them.
3 months ago
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