If you own an old house, you may want to take up projects to make it more functional, modern, and convenient. Your plan could be to live in it after the makeover, rent it out, or even sell it for a reasonable price. Whatever your purpose, you need to know the five best practices when improving old houses.
Here’s what you should keep in mind before you take over home improvement.
Hire A Professional Home Inspector
The first step is to have a professional home inspector assess the condition of your house. This will help you identify which areas need improvement and what kind of repairs are necessary. A home inspector will also be able to check if there are any hazardous materials used in your house construction.
Let’s say your home inspector found asbestos in your basement. You’ll need extra care when removing or repairing any asbestos-containing materials. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and other serious health problems. This will make it easier for you to plan your project and hire the right professionals to clear the asbestos.
When hiring a home inspector, choose a reliable one with years of experience inspecting old homes. This way, you can be confident that they know what they’re doing and that they’ll identify all the areas that need improvement in your house. They can even give you an estimate of the cost of the repairs you need to tackle.
Check if Your Need Any Permit for the Improvements You Plan To Make
After identifying which areas of your old home need improvement, you need to check if you need any permits for the improvement you’re planning to make. Depending on your location, the rules and regulations for home improvement projects may vary. There may also be different requirements if you’re planning to make significant changes to your house, such as adding an addition or even demolishing a part of it.
Before starting any work on your house, check with your local building department first. They can tell you if you need to apply for permits and how to go about it. They can also give you an overview of the building code requirements in your area. This way, you can be sure that the improvements you’re planning to make are up to code.
Hire a Licensed Contractor
Once you have all the necessary permits, the next step is to hire a licensed contractor. A licensed contractor can help you plan and execute your home improvement project. They can also help you stay within your budget and timeline.
When hiring a contractor, make sure to check their credentials first. You can do this by asking for references or checking online reviews. It’s also important to make sure that they’re licensed and insured. This way, you can be sure they’re qualified to do the job and that you’re protected in case anything goes wrong.
Get Creative With Your Financing
Home improvement projects can be expensive, so you need to get creative with your financing. It might not be wise to take out a loan to finance your project since you’re already dealing with an old house. You might want to consider other options, such as using your savings or getting a home equity line of credit.
Using Cash For Your Home Improvement
Paying for your home improvement in cash can help you save on interest. You won’t have to worry about making monthly payments or dealing with additional fees. This can also help you stay within your budget since you can avoid the temptation of spending more than what you can afford. However, you must ensure that you have enough saved before starting your project. Or you’ll end up being cash poor.
Taking Out A Mortgage
If you don’t have enough cash, you can finance your home improvement project by taking out a home loan. This can be a good option if you’re planning to make major changes to your house since you can spread the project’s cost over a longer period. However, you must be aware that this will increase your monthly payments.
The type of home loan you can get will also depend on the equity you have in your house. If you have a lot of equity, you can get a home equity loan or even a home equity line of credit. But if you don’t have much equity, you might need a conventional mortgage.
The trick is to search for a reliable lender who can offer different types of mortgages and can recommend a mortgage type that best suits your needs. The right one will have an excellent reputation, have been in the business for many years, and work with you to get the best mortgage rate. Be sure to do your research, compare lenders, and ask for recommendations before making a decision.
Respect The Original Design
When making any changes to the architecture of your old house, it is usually best to avoid making any drastic changes that will alter the character of your house. This way, you can maintain the integrity of your home while still making the necessary improvements.
Of course, there are some instances when you need to change the design of your home. For example, if your house is in dire need of repair and you can’t maintain the original design. But even then, it’s best to work with a licensed contractor who can help you develop a new design that respects the original architecture of your home.
You can also talk to your local historical society or Preservation Commission to get some guidance on what changes you can make without compromising the integrity of your old house. You can also look for suppliers of period-appropriate materials to use for your home improvement project.
Improving an old house can be challenging, but it’s definitely doable. Start with a home inspection and see if your improvements need permit approval. Once you have that figured out, find ways to finance the project and work with a licensed contractor to get the job done right. Don’t forget to consider retaining the original design of your old house when making any changes. Doing all these things will help you successfully update your old house without compromising its character and charm.