Tag Archives | Home Inspector

Living with an Older Home – Maintenance-Insurance-Energy challenges

The charms of living in an older home can be many – history, style, craftsmanship, quirks. But there’s no denying that living in such a home has its challenges. Maintenance can be tricky and expensive, especially if certain systems and features have been neglected over the years. Let’s take a look at some common situations found in many older homes:

  • Energy inefficiency is probably the number-one issue with older homes. Most older homes were constructed with single-pane windows; if these windows are still there, they likely don’t fit very well. Replacement windows can be very expensive, but will contribute immensely to reduced energy use and heating and cooling costs. Most replacement windows are available in several styles, so finding one that suits the look of your older home is easier than ever.
  • Like single-pane windows, poor (or no) insulation will also result in wasted energy and money. The most important and easiest area of the home to insulate is the attic, but walls and floors above ventilated crawlspaces should be insulated as well if possible. The attic may already have insulation but it may be inadequate by current standards.
  • If your home has older water pipes, have them checked to identify the material and determine if they need to be replaced. Some older materials such as galvanized steel, iron, and even lead are subject to deterioration and are still in use today even though new construction does not allow them. Replacement options include copper and CPVC piping.
  • Outdated electrical systems can still sometimes be found in older homes and may not only be dangerous, they can make the house uninsurable. Even if no danger is present, we use so much more electricity in our homes now that the capacity of your older system may be inadequate. Only a qualified electrician should attempt any repairs or updates to your home’s electrical system.

Reprinted with permission: Doug MacDonald, Registered and Certified Home Inspector
Proudly Serving Red Deer, Airdrie and Surrounding Areas. For more information, please contact your local Pillar To Post home inspector.

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Comment by Elke: We often get requests to show homes which were built before 1930. There are most definitely insurance concerns for many of the older homes in inner city Communities or in satellite towns so it’s best to be prepared for the questions you need to ask your insurance company before looking at the cute doll-houses you have seen on the MLS®. Call us for a free consult (403-295-3336), a referral to a local home inspector.

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Budgeting for Home Maintenance

It’s important for REALTORS® to remind home buyers that all homes-old or new-need ongoing maintenance.

First, buyers should understand the 1% rule. This rule postulates that normal maintenance on a home is about 1% of the value of the home per year. For example, a $250,000 home would require $2,500 per year to maintain. This would be enough to replace the roof covering…and then, a few years later, to replace a failed hot water tank…and then a few years more until a new central air system is required.

Then there is the 3% rule. Some experts say that home buyers should plan on spending 3% of the value of the home in the first year of ownership. This is because new homeowners will most likely have to buy drapes, blinds, a washer and dryer, a stove, maybe even a new roof covering. Also, new homeowners often customize the environment to their taste, so they need to budget for repairs, replacements and maintenance.

In addition, most home components have fairly predictable life cycles. For example, the typical life cycle of a high-efficiency furnace is 15 to 20 years. What this means is that most high-efficiency furnaces last between 15 and 20 years.

One way to know the extent of the maintenance needed and the costs to repair and/or replace items is to have a home inspection conducted. Home inspectors are required to let the buyer know if a component is significantly deficient or if it is near the end of its life cycle (service life), and a reputable home inspection company may offer up-to-date repair-cost guides to help clients with their planning.

Home inspectors work with REALTORS® and buyers to help them understand the issues that are found in the home, regardless of age, offering the right perspective and objective information. Home buyers need to understand that it’s normal for items in a home to wear out. This should be regarded as normal “wear and tear” and not necessarily a defect.

A good home inspection determines the current condition of the house, offering a report of all the systems and components in need of maintenance, service, repair or replacement.

For example, consider a home inspection that uncovers that the heating system is old and requires replacement. A home buyer may see this as a huge problem. However, this problem may be the only item in the home that requires attention. If a buyer were to look at this situation in perspective, this home could be well above average-a home merely requiring a new furnace.

A good home inspection provides objective information to help the buyer make an informed decision. Knowing what items need to be budgeted for repair or replacement will help home buyers plan or negotiate better and not be stuck with unexpected costs of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in the long run. Also, fixing these items will make a marked improvement on the performance of a home and minimize issues that could affect its future integrity…and value.

Reprinted with permission: Doug MacDonald, Registered and Certified Home Inspector
Proudly Serving Red Deer, Airdrie and Surrounding Areas.
For more information, please contact your local Pillar To Post home inspector.

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Comment by Elke: Understanding how much to budget for home maintenance when buying new or resale homes will help you protect your real estate investment. For more information about Calgary Real Estate, please visit our website.

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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