Tips for assessing an old building

Tips for assessing an old building

One option for those wanting a new house on their own plot of land, whether it be country or city, is to purchase a property with a building already on it. Here are some tips for assessing old buildings:

Tips for assessing an old building
Tips for assessing an old building

Living in the house during renovations

The building may not be a home decorator’s dream at the outset, but it is often possible to find old houses that are sound enough to live in while renovation is carried out in stages.

  • Life in a building undergoing major alterations can be inconvenient, but this arrangement does avoid the extra expense of paying rent for temporary ac­commodation or enduring the constraints of living in an RV until your house is spick and span.
  • Another option is to use an old, existing dwelling as a home base while a new residence takes shape elsewhere on the same property.
  • In either case, the advantages of having a roof in whatever condition over your head with power and a source of water at hand are considerable.

Assessing what you have

Land is often bought strictly because of its location, and the condition of any dwelling standing on it may be of no great concern. For instance, if the property was particularly suited to running horses or cattle, growing certain crops, establishing an orchard or whatever else you hoped to do, location would be the main factor governing your choice. To find a house in fine, livable condition as well would be something of a bonus!

  • It is a good idea to look at the house as carefully as the land; it may well be that you will have to live in it for longer than originally planned.
  • Many newcomers to life beyond the suburbs have little idea of the costs involved in running a property: fencing, clearing land, renewing tanks and dams, providing power and buying feed for stock are the types of unaccustomed expense that drain the bank account.
  • The dream of building a new house may not be financially possible for many years.
  • If your main reason for a change of location was to enjoy hectares (or acres!) of space and plenty of peace and quiet, then the house is especially important.
  • It should be carefully inspected prior to purchase to make sure that the basic structure is satisfactory and that renovation is a worthwhile course.
  • Do not be surprised if the house does not offer all the amenities you are used to.
  • Houses in rural areas tend to be modified less frequently than their urban counterparts; many old country homes are likely to be much the same as they were when they were first built, except perhaps in a slightly run-down condition.
  • There may be an antiquated bathroom in less than perfect working order, shabby paintwork, missing pieces of trim or even damage to walls.
  • On the positive side, a house that has stood for a number of generations on a country property is likely to be structurally sound, of a reasonable size and perhaps even exceptionally large by city standards. Look closely at the number and configuration of rooms to be sure the house will suit your needs.

Leaving the city for a plot of land in the country is a dream of many. Keep this guide in mind when looking for property and make sure you can afford the renovations you plan. Now it’s time to start house-hunting!


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