Author: Sue

Why Living in an Old House Can Be a Beautiful Dream

I just bought a 50-year-old home in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Sure, it was not much to look at in the beginning. Its light blue paint was all chipped; the stairs needed mending, same with the balusters. Moreover, my God, the roof was an entirely different story altogether. I will not even tell you how much I spent to have that cute house fixed and repaired adequately but let’s face it when you fall in love with a home there are great lengths you will go to to see it restored.

My husband, kids and I were staying at a hotel by the bay. While my husband was at a conference and my kids, were occupied at the pool, I had all the time necessary to scout out the territory. I could eat, shop or whatever and just kill time till he was at the conference.

We only got to see him for dinner, AFTER he had dinner with his colleagues. Wives and kids had to occupy themselves as they were not included in the activities.  Sure, we could join our husbands in-between the conference, but suburban Chicago just has too much to offer. This was when I discovered that quaint house that stole my heart.

A light blue beauty with white balusters, semi-Victorian style, two-stories, a short walk from downtonwn, and with pretty trees around it. I know, I know. I ignored the peeling paint, the fallen balusters, the leaks everywhere, and the roof about to fall apart. However, you know what? Between you and me, I got a pretty good price for it.

My husband says I am a good negotiator. He thinks maybe I can take his place at work. I can be like a torpedo when I am on to something. Pretty much like how I approached the purchase of this house with tunnel vision and a budget.

I could not sleep that first night I saw it.  My husband noticed my restlessness. Of course, I spilled the beans. “I found a house!”

Still muddle-headed as he was just catching up on sleep, I proceeded to share my new discovery until he felt waking up would be a good idea as he saw the glitter and excitement in my eyes.

Long story short, we bought the house, had it redone, roof, balusters, stairs, painting, plumbing, etc… Old houses mean lots of wear and tear over the years. I had to have the plumbing and HVAC done to my taste as I wanted my husband and kids to be really comfortable in our home. I am not keen on clogged pipes, sinks, drains, backflows, and such.  

Took care of that. And now?  Well, now, I am queen of this pretty home where I believe I will stay forever.   

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Some things to Consider When Buying Older Homes or Condominiums

Houses and condominiums get wear and tear from day-to-day use. Of course, houses with occupants get a lot of beating over years of living in them.  There are certain things you must ask yourself when looking at purchasing an aged home.  I love older homes as I find that they have a certain charm to them.  I guess I enjoy that the home has had some history, maturity, experience.  Of course, all this comes with more questions to be asked about the home.  Abandoned homes have even more questions.  Left to the elements, without any measure of maintenance at all, these homes can have major issues that, if left unchecked, can cause major headaches down the road.  

When purchasing older homes or condominiums, these are the seven things you must look into for your own protection:

  • The location. Find safe neighborhoods that have a reputation for safety and convenience. If you have children, this is especially important. If you do not like driving or commuting, you will need to live very close by, perhaps even walking distance to your place of work.
  • The price. This has always been the tough part. Ideally, you can get a house or condo for the fairest possible price, with the amenities you really care for and love. There are standards for cost per square foot. Check this with your broker when you find a place you are considering buying.
  • The owners. Find out from your broker whether the house or condo is owned by a person or a group of persons like in a corporation. Since problems arise when there are “too many cooks in the kitchen,” clarify whom you can speak to primarily about the purchase of the home.
  • The documents. Ideally, all documents are in place anytime you or your broker need to review them. Copies must be clear and easy to understand.  People selling houses or condos must have their act together and compile a cohesive set of documents that are immediately available for review.
  • The structural integrity.  As a buyer, you must seek professionals, so you will know if the house is strong, has not been damaged, does not sit atop a fault line, or is prone to flooding and all that. Flooding can damage properties to a great extent.  Check with local professionals and agencies.
  • The materials. House materials must still be in good shape, or if not, have estimated how much a renovation would cost. Perhaps you can negotiate on the prices, have it brought down a bit more, considering you may be doing some renovations in the future.
  • The utilities. Note which utilities supply the house you are thinking of purchasing. Have professionals check the electrical wiring and plumbing. 

 

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