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Buying an Older Home?

by Alisa Coyle

When searching for the next house to call home, there's a lot to consider. Opening your home search to older constructions can increase your options, however older homes may be harboring issues beneath the surface. Here are some things to consider (and have inspected) when purchasing an older home. 

 

Foundation and Structural Issues: Due to their age, older homes should be inspected thoroughly for foundation and structural damage. Cracks or unevenness in the foundation can lead to moisture damage, dry rot, corrosion, and shifting of the house. According to Safewise, "Foundation repairs can escalate to over $10,000, depending on the extent of the structural issues - and homeowners insurance won't cover these costs." If you suspect structural damage, be sure to have the building inspected by a licensed structural engineer. 

Electrical and Plumbing Issues:  Many older homes have their original plumbing and wiring, as updating these systems can be costly. Keeping the original knob-and-tube wiring or the original cast-iron pipes, however, can be a serious safety hazard. Old electrical systems can cause a fire, and old pipes can cause leaks or weak water pressure. 

Hazardous Materials: The older a home is, the more likely it is to contain hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead. Lead is commonly found in paint applied before 1978 and in plumbing installed before 1985. Asbestos can be found in gas fireplaces, roofing, and insulation that was installed before 1980. 

Outdated Heating and Cooling Systems:  Older homes were likely designed for oil, coal or wood heating systems and later retrofitted with newer HVAC systems, so it's important to understand when and how these upgrades were made. Even a more up-to-date heating system can be inefficient and unsafe if it hasn't been maintained properly. 

Houses with cooling systems are likely to be a bit newer, but outdated cooling systems are known to have their own issues.  Common problems with older AC units include improperly working fans, reduced efficiency, refrigerant leaks, and electrical problems. 

 

Termites and Bugs:  Depending on where the home is located, termites and other bugs could be a major issue. The National Pest management association claims that termites alone cause around $5 billion in property damage yearly. The older the home, the longer it has been exposed to the chance of infestations.

 

 

 

 

Home Buying Tip: Improve Your Credit Score!

by Alisa Coyle

When you’re looking to purchase a home, you know that you need to get your financial affairs in order so that you can get approved for a mortgage. One of the things that you will need to do to get your dream home is to make sure that your credit score is as high as possible. There are several ways to do this – which methods you use will depend on how much time you have before you want to purchase your home.

For those of you that are just in the starting stages of buying a home, raise your credit score by using a third or less of your available credit. In addition, ensure that you are paying your bills on time to eliminate negative marks for late payments. Hold off on opening new credit accounts or making large purchases until after your purchase is complete.

If you’re further along in the process, there is one more thing that you can do that might raise your score. Check your current credit scores and check for errors. Credit bureaus aren’t perfect, and you may be able to find and clear up a mistake. This could raise your credit score a few points, if any faults exist.

If you want more information about the mortgage process, call the Greater Boston Realty office and ask to be referred to a mortgage professional. We have many contacts in the West Roxbury, Roslindale, and Jamaica Plain areas that will be able to help you on your journey.  And, of course, when you’re ready to look for your next home, we’ll be here for you!

 

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Greater Boston Realty
2012 Centre St.
Boston MA 02132
617-469-4040