If you’ve been on any social media channels that are focused on home ownership in the last year, you might have come across one particular social media account that’s gained a lot of followers and created a lot of buzz. Cheap Old Houses is an Instagram account that posts and lists houses across the country that are gorgeous, unique but worn down because they were built decades ago.
The charm of these kinds of homes comes in many different forms. As Dawson Management Company advises, it’s a chance to do a huge renovating project, and an opportunity to own something that’s unique. Vintage and antique items continue to be quite popular so it’s no surprise that this has happened. We’ve spent years watching home flipping shows and we want to do the same. This trend also speaks to a greater issue, the fact that many younger people are finding unique and clever ways to make their dream of home ownership a reality.
The true question is whether or not it’s smart to buy a cheap old house. Is it something you should ever consider, and how do you go about it? Here are the advantages and disadvantages of buying cheap old houses.
Unique, Charming Features – Cheap Old Houses
Cheaper older houses are getting popular because they can give first-time home buyers the best of both worlds. You get to buy something that might be bigger and also has a lot more unique details and features. Typical affordable new houses tend to be what’s known as “builder basic” meaning very standard features and nothing really special. By buying an old house at a very good price, you get something with a lot of character, and the opportunity to have a home that has incredible vintage and antiques features. If you’re into modernizing and renovating that kind of house, you can keep the older features while upgrading others.
Because a cheap old house is well, cheap, you have a lot more budget to work with when it comes to your renovation. Most people have to straddle the line between buying a fixer-upper that’s still within the budget. You often can’t buy something and then fix it up, and have any money left over. If you’re buying a cheap old house, you can then put more money into renovating the home and giving it all the fixes that restore it to its former glory with some modern details, of course.
A Great Investment
Cheap old houses can also make for really good investment properties. Even if you already own a home, you can snap one of these properties up, renovate them and either flip for a profit or keep and set up as a rental property. If the home is in a popular holiday market, you can even turn it into a charming vacation rental that earns you money. What’s great about buying cheap old homes is you can easily raise the money for one because they don’t cost as much as new homes. You might even be able to borrow money off the mortgage you already have, and use a reverse mortgage calculator to find out how much you can get.
It wouldn’t be wise to talk about buying a cheap old house without talking about the potential downsides. It’s very lovely to think about buying a charming 100-year-old house, but a home that old comes with some challenges.
The Age of the House
The first challenge with buying a cheap, old home is the actual condition of the house. If it’s really old and worn down, it might have many underlying issues like foundation cracks, water leaks, old pipes and in some extreme cases, asbestos. Remember these are houses built way before current building codes and standards so you might not be happy with what you’re going to find once you start knocking down walls. Renovating this kind of house is not a simple cosmetic fix, it’s a huge undertaking. The last thing you want to do is go into a project with the intention of it being less expensive, only to find yourself with an enormous renovation bill.
If you’re buying a home with old school details chances are, there are certain things you want to restore to their former glory. Whether it’s the hardwood floors, the windows or other smaller special pieces, it might not be that easy to source these restorations, and if they are easy to find, they will be expensive. There’s already a huge shortage in building and construction materials, imagine how much harder it would be to find those rare materials that will allow that renovation to truly reflect the vision you had for it.
There’s a sense of excitement that comes with buying an antique home, but it’s very important that you know what you’re getting into. That way, you can end up with the home of your dreams, not a stressful waste of money.