They say that “home is where the heart is,” but these days, it is also where everyone is, all the time! As people seek to swap their current dwellings of cramped apartments in the middle of cities for those that are larger and more private, many are considering purchasing and renovating older homes. Discerning tastes don’t necessarily want cookie-cutter, catalogue-like neighborhoods where every home looks the same. Instead, there’s value in homes with character and unique features. Instagram accounts feature “cheap old houses” where thousands of people swoon over original claw foot tubs and other details that are hard to find in anything built in this century. However, buying an older home is not necessarily as straightforward as buying new construction. Here are some tips for those considering making an older home their own:

It’s Not as Easy as It Seems on TV

See a house with “good bones” but want to modernize it to be more functional for today’s use? Various home improvement reality shows are dedicated to showcasing how to magically transform all kinds of houses. The problem is that these shows are created by professionals and there’s a lot that can be focused on (or hidden) by TV cameras. While there are definitely tips that can be gleaned, unfortunately many have discovered that when tackling their own projects, budgets, timing and the quality of results are not “as seen on TV.” So, it’s important to plan for setbacks, delays and hidden costs.

Insects and Mice, Oh My!

It is not just lovers of unique architecture and design that appreciate old houses – critters love to make their nests in them too. Houses of any kind can be ideal for insects and rodents, but old houses may be more susceptible. Some problems, like termite damage, can be very expensive to fix. According to the National Pest Management Association, termites alone cause over $5 billion in property damage annually. Mice and rodents, on the other hand, can be handled yourself. And, even though you might be in an old house, that doesn’t mean you have to use an old style of mouse trap which can be rather messy and a hazard to curious children, cats and dogs. Poison is also not recommended due to its toxicity to humans and pets – and the gruesome fact that the mice may end up dying in a hard-to-reach place in your home. Instead, many homeowners are turning to DoomBox® – a clear, fully enclosed, certified child resistant mouse trap designed by one of the most notable plastics companies in the USA, Jamestown Plastics, using their patented Click-it™ Closure Technology. This design is also useful if you’re planning to set traps and leave them unattended for some time, such as in a second home that is seasonally vacant, or a house that you haven’t moved into yet.

Experts Can Help with Expectations

No matter how experienced you might be in real estate, a good agent who is very familiar with the area, the types of homes, and common issues that they have seen can provide valuable advice, particularly if this is the first time buying an old home. If you are planning to renovate, make sure to align with a contractor that has had good reviews and you trust. And if you’re going at it alone, do your research. If you truly feel in over your head, ask for help. As the old adage goes “measure twice, cut once.” (SP)