Risk Mitigation – What To Worry About With Your Home
When purchasing a house or taking care of the home you have, keep in mind every house has problems whether they are 200 years old or 20. Usually what I find during an inspection is most of the problems is from previous home owners lack of maintenance and updating over the years. In general, older houses I see are built better than new ones and doing updates will make an older house into a great home.
I tell a lot of people when inspecting a home, if the foundation and roof is good everything in-between can be fixed. But this is where you need to talk professionals about the cost because it is easy to get in over your head and you never want to have more in your home than you can get back out. Research is very important, so you know how much money to put into a house and still be able to get it back out when you decide to sell.
A good real estate professional and home inspector is important when you are looking for a house. The home inspector and real estate professional work for you and you are in charge. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into buying a house, before making the final purchase you need to be comfortable with the house and expectations of repairs and updates.
Here are areas to look at when buying a house and planning for updates
Foundation and structural problems. When first purchasing a house, it is very important to be sure the home is structurally sound because these problems can run into the 10’s of thousands of dollars to repair and on occasion it is cheaper to tear it down and build new house on the land.
Electrical system. Many older houses may still have fuse panels with only 60-amp service, knob and tube, ungrounded or aluminum wiring that may need to be updated. A house should have a minimum of 100-amp service with most getting upgraded to 200-amp service
There are several reasons why malfunctioning, old or faulty wiring represents a huge problem for a few reasons. Some of them include:
- An old electrical system creates a fire hazard, putting you and your loved ones at risk. One of the biggest causes of house fires is bad wiring. When the wiring becomes exposed or heated or when sparks are created, materials around it get ignited which eventually leads to a big fire.
- The risk of electrocution increases. If the wiring gets old and there are signs of wear and tear, then the electrical current won’t be transferred properly. The insulation may have holes in them. In both these cases, there will be a serious risk of electrocution.
- The lifespan of your electrical appliances will be cut down significantly as the faulty wiring won’t be able to manage the power in a safe manner, as it once did, and it may short your appliances. Further, the faulty wiring and electrical system may not have the capacity to support modern appliances which will cause your washing machines, dishwashers and microwaves to wear out quickly.
The cost to upgrade the electrical will depend on what’s to be done, the cost can be anywhere from $2500 – $20,000 depending on what you want from just a new electrical service to removal of old wiring and installation of new grounded wire.
Heating system. If the heating system has not been updated, maintained or in poor condition, the heating system can become a serious health and fire hazard. Depending on what the home has for heat will decide on the expense. Most houses will have a forced air gas or fuel oil furnace, boiler or electric heat.
When updating the heating system is can be as cheap as just a new furnace for $2500 or as high as $30,000 if you need a boiler, air conditioning, new duct work or hot water pipes and registers installed.
Another concern is many houses have the duct work or water pipes wrapped in asbestos. This can be large expense if it needs to be removed, that many new home owners do not think about.
Inefficient windows. Older house windows were single pane with poor sealing causing a large amount of heat loss in the home. There are many styles of insulated double, and triple pane windows available today, with replacement being easy in older homes. But the cost will be up there depending on how many windows you need and quality, not uncommon to spend $10,000 – $20,000 to upgrade the windows.