Selling an older home is, in many respects, like putting a newer house on the market. As the homeowner, you’ll work with a realtor to list the property, and you’ll ideally get an offer in a timely manner.
Following one or more home inspections and other common milestones, the buyer will usually agree to proceed with the sale. That gives everyone the green light to begin the closing process, where you’ll receive the proceeds from the home sale.
An Older Home Requires Special Attention
At the same time, selling an older house is quite different than selling a more recently constructed home. First, the older structure may have been built with different building codes and construction standards than a 21st-century residence. Some earlier 20th century homes were built with few building codes in place (or sometimes none at all).
In addition, you’ll have a difficult time tracking down home maintenance records for pre-2000 homes. Some contractors may have gone out of business, and others may have purged your transaction(s) from their electronic or paper files.
Even with these two limitations, it’s certainly possible to sell your older home in a reasonable amount of time. Approaching the sale proactively is the key. Work with your realtor to develop a game plan, and keep up with your part of the bargain throughout the process.
Resolve Problem Issues Before Listing the Property
Before you put the property on the market, address the issues that will likely draw a home inspector’s attention. By taking time to do that, you’ll be more likely to enjoy a smoother sales transaction with fewer hiccups.
Old homes often have varying degrees of foundation issues. Causes can include normal age-related wear and tear, extremely wet soil, a well-established tree root network, or even seismic activity.
Signs of foundation problems include cracks in interior and exterior walls along with uneven floors. If some of the doors won’t latch, or windows won’t open, you likely have underlying foundation issues.
Serious foundation problems can threaten your safety and potentially make the home unlivable. In addition, your realtor will not want to list the home without addressing these issues. It’s always prudent to have a structural engineer assess the damage and create a repair strategy.
Roof Wear and Tear
Many older homes’ roofs display some degree of deterioration. Causes can include the roof grade, the shingles’ projected life span, and quality of the installation. The roof’s maintenance record can also be a factor. In some regions, weather extremes can affect a roof’s lifespan.
Signs of roofing problems include missing shingles and bowing gutters. Inside, check the top floor or attic for leaks or signs of moisture intrusion. Also, realize that the leak’s source may be hard to find, as water can migrate from the roof entry point to another part of the home.
To determine the extent of the damage, contact a professional home inspector with proven roofing expertise. Ask for a full written assessment along with a repair plan and estimate.
Obsolete Electrical System
Most older homes need some type of electrical system update. For perspective, know that pre-1960 wiring lasts approximately 70 years. Service panels require an update after 60 years while circuit breakers only have a 30-year useful life.
There’s also a good chance that an older home’s electrical system does not meet current electrical code requirements. A very old home may have been built without any code requirements at all.
From a consumer’s perspective, older electrical systems cannot handle the demands of today’s increasingly sophisticated systems and electronics. Smart home installations, smart appliances, and high-tech TVs and sound systems rely on electrical circuitry that can handle those needs.
Signs of electrical issues include dim or flickering lighting and/or regular power outages. If you have two-pronged outlets, or your outlets and/or light switches often feel warm, you most certainly have electrical problems.
Your realtor will want to ensure that the property meets current code requirements before listing the home. To resolve the issues, contact a certified electrical inspector. A licensed, insured electrician should handle all the electrical repairs and/or installations. Do not attempt to perform any electrical work yourself.
Compromised Plumbing System
Your older home’s plumbing system can be impacted by several problems. Depending on the system’s age, the pipes can contain dangerous lead. As the pipes age and begin to break down, bits of lead can leach into your drinking water.
Polybutylene pipes can also become a hazard. They can become corroded by bleach and/or other household cleaners. Depending on the degree of the corrosion, the pipes can burst without warning.
If your home is surrounded by well-established trees, the roots may have grown into the underground plumbing components. This can compromise your pipes’ integrity.
Signs of a substandard plumbing system include poor drainage in sinks, showers, and tubs. Leaks around the faucets are also a sign of inefficient plumbing. Finally, low water pressure will likely catch the home inspector’s attention.
Bringing your plumbing system up to current code requirements is the best strategy. Ask a licensed plumber to conduct a thorough inspection and provide an estimate for needed system repairs or replacement.
Worn-Out Mechanical Equipment
Your older home’s mechanical equipment might be near the end of its useful life. The water heater, furnace, or HVAC unit may have been in constant use for many years. Maybe it’s becoming increasingly unreliable or getting ready to stop working altogether.
If the water heater sounds noisy, or you see puddling around its base, it may be ready to give up the ghost. If your furnace makes noise, or does not heat the rooms evenly, it may be on the verge of a complete shutdown. Finally, increased humidity levels may signal that your HVAC system isn’t working correctly.
Proactively addressing these issues means they are less likely to become part of a home inspector’s report. Determine each appliance’s age and projected lifespan. Replace questionable items before listing the home for sale.
Getting the Job Done Right
Working with a reputable contractor is the key to getting the job done right. Toward that end, The Poltrock Team’s “Gotta Guy” Page provides an updated list of nearby contractors who have built a reputation on good customer service.
Once you have brought your older house up to current standards, you can confidently list the property for sale. Work with a realtor who will showcase the home’s distinctive character and vintage charm. Or if that is more work than you care to do, we can sell your property as-is. Either way, The Poltrock Team exclusively uses professional real estate photography to showcase our properties and their features in the best way. Call us today to learn more about what we do for you and to get your property Sold.
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com
Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496
Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team