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How To Buy An Older House And Save A Fortune

Oct 22, 2007
When you have found a house in a desirable location that looks interesting, look it over carefully for evidence of quality construction or the lack of quality.

Does the house have the general appearance of being in good shape?

Do the doors swing freely, and do they fit the openings? A poor fit of the doors often indicates the foundation is settling.

Do the windows operate freely? If not, look out. Of course, sometimes paint may stick the windows and they can be pried loose and made to operate freely. Are the floors level and in good condition? If the floor is high in the center of the room, it is not because the floor has risen, but because the walls are settling.

Do not buy a house if the floors are not level. This situation is very difficult to correct and usually indicates a serious defect in the structure.

Look for evidence that water has been a problem. Are there spots on the ceiling or walls that show that water has been leaking around the roof area?

What about under and around the windows? Look around the bottoms of the walls near the baseboards for water marks. What about areas near the shower bath, or around the laundry trays?

What about water stains on the bathtub indicating a leaky faucet? Watch slab floors for signs of moisture; this might be indicated by buckled or uneven linoleum, or floor tile curled up at the corners. If you find many of these features, do not stop there, but keep on looking until you find another house.

If the floor is of frame construction, is the area under the house well ventilated? Crawl under the house and examine the framing under the floor.

Take your pocket knife and test the joists and sills to see if they have started to decay. Get up into the attic and look over the situation; it is surprising what you may discover. The two most important parts of a house are the foundation and the roof.

If these two are in good condition, it is a pretty good sign that the house is structurally sound. But structural soundness is not the only, or even the most important criterion to use in judging a house.

Study the Plan

The structure exists solely to enclose the space that you will live in. Study the room arrangement carefully. Does the passage from one room to another seem natural and easy, or do you have to walk too far to get anywhere? Do you enter the house gracefully?

Will the rain water drip down the back of your neck while you search through your purse for the key? Is there a closet near the front door for wraps? Do you come directly into the living room, or is there at least a hint of an entrance hall?

Will the living room be the principal passageway through the house, with traffic lanes across the carpet in a year or two? Where will you put the piano or the davenport? What about the television? Is there a good place for it and the spectators around it, where they can be out of the way of other activities?

Is the kitchen complete with adequate work areas where they will be convenient? Is there a good place to eat? Is there a place in the house for a dining table? What about the storage of food supplies?

Is the house light and cheerful, or dismal, dingy, and dark? A gloomy house can have a very depressing effect on a family.

Are there enough bedrooms, and are they large enough? Are wardrobes large enough, and fitted with rods, shelves and organized storage space? What general storage space is there for suitcases, fishing tackle, cameras, projectors, golf clubs, etc.?

Is there a special closet for cleaning equipment? Check the location and size of the bathrooms, and the arrangement of the fixtures.

In selecting a house, be sure to get the things in it that you have always wanted.

That is the reason you are buying instead of renting. If you want oak floors on a wood frame, don't settle for asphalt tile on concrete, which is much cheaper to build.

Some people have trouble with their feet when they stand and work on hard cold floors, as concrete floors tend to be, even when covered with asphalt or vinyl tile.

If you buy a house to be paid for in twenty-five years, how old will you be when it is all paid for? How much repair will it need by that time? Will it still be a good house, or will it need to be replaced?

How long should a house last? If well built on a good concrete foundation and if the roof is kept in repair, a house should last several centuries. Many wood frame houses are still in use that were built in the colonial period of America.

They are still strong and in sound structural condition, but aside from their historic value, how well adapted are they to modern living? Houses do not ordinarily fall down; they just get out of date and show signs of the wear and tear of everyday living.

Minor repairs, patching and a good painting are all they need to be like new; that is, like they were when they were new. But fashions in houses change rapidly the same way they do in hats, except the fashion in hats may change a little faster than it does in houses.

When you do decide to purchase it is surprising how much you can save by using a mortgage calculator.
About the Author
How To Save On Your Mortgage: Save Money With Mortgage Calculators http://www.greatpublications.com/mortgagecalc.htm
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