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Old homes vs New homes

Posted at 11:06 am on October 5, 2019

Older homes.. they’re not for everybody!

I have a unique perspective as a Realtor because I sell a lot of older homes here in Des Moines. I personally live in an older home, my office is right here on Grand Ave in the heart of Des Moines and so many of my friends and clients have bought homes in these older Des Moines neighborhoods.

But I also sell new construction homes. I represent Jerry’s Homes in Altoona and Pleasant Hill and also consider myself an expert in new construction. Having the perspective for older homes and newer homes helps me help clients navigate through what is best for them.

Today I’m talking about older homes and what to look for. There are several things done differently when buying an older home vs a new home. To start, your inspection will need to be done by someone who specializes in older homes and knows what to look for. An inspection is not to bring an older home up to code! In fact- it even states in our purchase agreements that the inspection is not to bring an old home up to code- there will most definitely be things on older homes that are very different to how they are built today!

But you do want to make sure you’re looking out for all the big things to look for in an older home. Older homes are not for every body.  Find an inspector that specializes in older homes. They will want to look for things like knob and tube wiring, be able to do a sewer inspection, foundation issues. All of these things wouldn’t be an issue with a new home, but they definitely to be looked at prior to purchase to make sure it won’t be a complete money pit! I laugh when I say this, because even my 1960s home that was pretty updated- is honestly still a money pit! But they are at least updates that we knew going into it would need to happen. And we still have original blue and pink bathrooms because they’re in good condition and we will update some day!

If you find an older home that is completely updated, you will likely be paying top dollar for it. Which for some people is absolutely the right choice! Those updates were done by somone else, but it allows you to have the cost wrapped into a mortgage- vs buying a home that will need all the updates that you need to come up witht the cash for. One thing I didn’t mention in the video is that there are some renovation loans available to do the updating without having to have the cash in hand. So if that’s an option you want to explore, let me know and I can get you the details!

Just keep in mind that the majority of older homes will need to have continuous home maintenance done to them! Faucets may leak, sump pumps may need fixed.. a house in general (new or old) takes maintenance and money to help protect your investment. My best advice for older homes: get the sewer line insurance! And pro tip… STOP using that super fluffy toilet paper. Get the thin cheap stuff! Roots in sewer lines are very common and that thick toilet paper does not easily go through!

So.. make sure you use cheap toilet paper, put the insurance coverage on your sewer and water line and have a good handy man on speed dial! There are pros and cons for new vs old.. you may have more maintenance with an older home, but you get to live in a neighborhood full of mature trees and your kids get to jump in leaves in the Fall! But that also means you have to clean your gutters! 😉

No matter who you use as your Realtor, make sure they are well versed in older homes. They can help find red flags, but also help you not be scared away from issues that aren’t really that big of a deal. For example, nearly all older homes have knob and tube wiring- but it doesn’t mean you have to freak out! You just need to make sure it’s safe as evaluated by an electrician and also that your insurance company will be OK to cover it.

As always, If you have any questions just let me know. That’s whay I’m here for!

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