10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

Leigh Leigh
The Old Forge House, Hertfordshire | Classic Painted Shaker Kitchen Humphrey Munson Kitchen
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Buying an older home has advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to weigh them both up before you take the plunge. Buying a home is like having a child—a long-term investment that is going to involve a lot of love, as well as a lot of blood, sweat and tears. You want to make sure that you have all of the information and the facts before you go ahead.

An older home can have a lot of charm and character. It may also be cheaper than some of the more modern or renovated homes in the same area. You may be able to buy it for less and then spend time working on it until it suits your taste and style. You may also be able to make a huge profit on it once it has been renovated by selling it at a higher price. 

Before you invest in an older home though, we at homify would like to point out 10 things that nobody tells you about buying an older home.

Let's go!

1. An Older Home Comes With Older Technology and Building Materials

The first and most obvious point is that an older home will come with older technology and building materials.

This means that your home is less likely to be as environmentally friendly, green and sustainable as more modern homes. Solar panels, utilising double-glazed windows for insulation and using recycled water to flush the toilet are concepts that may not have even been considered for residential homes yet when your house was built. 

Your building materials—such as the waterproofing in the ceiling, the bricks and the roof itself—may be slightly worn out and require more maintenance than a modern home. 

Check out these smart homes that don't contain their cool to see what a sustainable house truly looks like. 

2. Older Homes Have Character That’s Hard to Buy

Old White Oak Dark Quick-Step Walls & flooringWall & floor coverings

Old White Oak Dark


Remember that older homes have a certain character and charm that would be hard to replicate in a brand, spanking new modern home. This design, by Quick-Step for example, is just so cozy and quaint. 

Wooden floors, antique door frames and traditional windows add a real sense of history to a place, which is difficult not to fall in love with. 

Remember that if you buy an older home, you can always incorporate a bit of the old with a bit of the new.

3. An Older Home May Require Some Remodeling

If you opt for an older home, you may need to do a bit of remodeling, but that's OK! It gives you an opportunity to really hone in on what you love about the house and incorporate more modern elements where you can, such as solar heating and a sleek, smart kitchen.

Before you buy the house, consult an architect as well as the original plans of the house. See what will be possible to remodel and what elements you'd like to keep from the old home. The architect will be able to tell you what will work and what will not work, giving you an opportunity to decide on if the home will be worth buying after you have done all of the work on it. 

4. How Much Will Your Home Owners Insurance Be?

Hotel at a Baroque XVIII Century House. Bedroom Ignacio Quemada Arquitectos Classic style bedroom Stone White
Ignacio Quemada Arquitectos

Hotel at a Baroque XVIII Century House. Bedroom

Ignacio Quemada Arquitectos

An important factor to investigate before you make an offer on that older home is if the house insurance is going to be more expensive than it may be on a newer home. There are several reasons why this may be the case:

1. Old wiring

2. Roofing materials that are not storm sensitive

3. Plumbing that needs to be replaced

4. Rare materials such as antique doors, which would be expensive to replace

5. Old appliances that are deemed risky or dangerous

Consult an insurance broker and do a full evaluation of the home before you sign that cheque!

5. The Top Two Updates of an Old Home

The Old Forge House, Hertfordshire | Classic Painted Shaker Kitchen Humphrey Munson Kitchen
Humphrey Munson

The Old Forge House, Hertfordshire | Classic Painted Shaker Kitchen

Humphrey Munson

If you go ahead with buying an older home, there are two spaces that you will be most likely to renovate or update: the bathroom and the kitchen.

The kitchen is a space that is constantly evolving thanks to technology. A decade or two ago, kitchens were also cut off from the rest of the home. Today, however, the modern take on the kitchen space is for it to be open plan and flow into the rest of the living space. This allows for a more social environment, where the family or friends can interact even if someone is busy in the kitchen. You also want to ensure that you have all of the modern appliances as well as a fabulous kitchen island or breakfast nook. Check out these kitchen accessory must-haves.

The bathroom may also be outdated with tiles that are a very old-school colour or a style that just doesn't suit the 21st century. A bathroom revamp shouldn't be too expensive and may just involve a paint job, re-tiling or replacing the tub and the toilet. Opt for a classic look that won't go out of fashion anytime soon!

6. Mix the Old With the New

Remember that one of the best things when it comes to buying an old house is that you can mix the old with the new. 

Incorporate the elements that you love about the older home, such as the stone wall or the traditional ceiling beams, with modern furniture and updated technology. You can see in this design, by Xavier Lemoine Decoration, how the old and new can work in perfect harmony.

Check out these tips on modernising the decor of an old house.

7. You Can Remodel an Older Home to Make it Become Modern

Apart from the bathroom and the kitchen, you can remodel any section in the house to make it more modern. This is especially true if you've bought a house as a fixer-upper.

You can remove walls to open up the whole house so that it becomes a more open-plan design.

You can also remodel the bedrooms, the living room or the dining room so that it is slightly sleeker and edgier. There is no need to compromise on trend or comfort when it comes to your own, self-bought home. If you don't like something, change it—it's your space!

The great part about this is that it is a wonderful investment. Remodeling your home will make it more valuable so if you ever decide to sell, you may be able to make quite a profit!

Check out this fantastic Before & After so you can see just what is possible with a bit of remodeling.

8. Contact Historical Society if You Plan to Remodel an Older Home

While you may want to change the whole look and feel of a space in your house, like in this design by Createurs d Interieur, you need to check with the historical societies in your neighbourhood if there are any restrictions when it comes to remodeling.

This may sound like a strange fact, especially when you've bought and paid for your house, but there are some rules in places when it comes to historical homes.

Ask your estate agent to disclose any information around this and to look into it if they haven't already done so, before you make the commitment to buying the house. You don't want to end up paying for something that you can't do anything with! Imagine having to live with the before in this photograph, rather than the after?

9. Will Your Appliances Fit into the Older Home?

Another important factor to take into account is if your fancy smart flat screen TV and your sleek silver washing machine is going to fit into the older home. You'll also need to ensure that the wiring and the infrastructure can support the modern appliances.

Chat to an electrician about this before you sign on the dotted line—you don't want to move in and then spend a fortune re-wiring!

Thinking about including a media room in your home? Have a look through these homify multimedia room products.

10. Embrace the Difficulties of Owning a Old Home

If you decide to go ahead with buying your old home, then you need to simply let go of any difficulties and embrace owning a home! Enjoy the creaks and cracks as well as the adventure ahead! It's all yours and you can transform it into a home that will be in your family for generations to come.

When it gets a bit overwhelming, take a step back and remember what a fantastic investment it is as well as how beautiful the home will look with all of your furniture and finishing touches. 

Get creative, get innovative and make this old home your own!

Do you have any tips to add? Have you bought an older home? Tell us your thoughts!

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