Many home buyers in Boston are looking for older, beautiful homes to renovate or just to call home. When searching for an older home in Boston, you want to make sure you’re aware of the different things you might find within the home. This blog series covers all the things you may not think of when buying an older home in Boston.
Older homes were often built with single-pane windows. While these may have been common back when the home was built, today, most windows are double pane or even thermopane. Todays’ windows do a much better job of keeping the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
When shopping for an older home in Boston, make sure you know what type of windows it has and what you really want. You may be able to upgrade the windows, but be careful if the home is a historic home. There could be some red tape to navigate if you want to make changes to the windows.
While older windows can be a hassle, they are not always a bad thing. If you find a Boston home with storm windows, you may be thankful to have them. Older windows often fit the character of the home and it can be hard for a purist to change them out. However, if you have storm windows, you may not need to make any changes.
We already discussed the old knob-and-tube wiring systems, but we haven’t really gotten into what homeowners used to do with the circuits and fuses. AS technology continued to advance, homeowners would often replace blow fuses with the wrong fuses. For example, a 30A fuse might get replaced with a 40A fuse.
This is a very dangerous thing with an older home, as the old knob-and-tube wiring could heat up and cause a fire or damage. It’s important to make sure all the circuits and fuses are the proper rating if you plan to keep the old wiring in the house.
With an older home in Boston, it’s possible you may end up with some unwanted guests. Termites and powder post beetles are common, but you should also look for signs of other insects, rats, mice, and other pests.
Dealing with a pest infestation isn’t fun and can be a health hazard. Of course, termites can wreak all sorts of havoc on your home, while other pests may just be annoying.
If you decide to buy an older home, don’t be caught off guard when the home inspector shows you damage from powder post beetles. Often, the bugs are no longer active, but the damage has been done and you need to be aware of the extent of the damage.
Know the Building Code
When you buy an older home in Boston, you will become responsible for it. If the home isn’t up to the building code, you will be the one on the hook for the cost of the upgrades.
Make sure you’re aware of the codes within the city and the neighborhood. Some Boston neighborhoods have strict codes because the homes are of historic value. It’s important to know what you will need to do, along with what you can and cannot do with the home before purchasing.
The condition of the Walls
You need to be aware of the condition of the walls in an older home, along with the material. Were they made with drywall or horsehair plaster? Is the fresh coat of paint covering up old wallpaper or stains from a water leak?
The walls cannot just be covered with a fresh coat of paint, in some older homes. You may have to remove wallpaper and skim coat the walls before you can paint. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can be a very long process compared to just adding a fresh coat of paint.
The condition of the Floors
Along with the walls, you want to look closely at the floors. Original wood flooring is a wonderful thing, but you should know if you can sand it or if the gaps are too big. It may need to be refinished, which isn’t a huge deal, but you need to know the extent of the project before making your decision to buy.