Author: Daisy Huang, Broker, GTA top professional real estate agent (High value. Delivered.)

With land prices of Toronto increasing by double digits every year, many old houses with a large lot size have become a popular buy on the market. Today, Daisy is here to share with you “nine things to know when buying an old house”

1. Consider investment value
If you are willing to invest in a major project and hire an architect to redesign the entire property, you may be ready to buy the type of property that requires extensive renovations. While restoration work on a property can be time-consuming, you will gain more from the value you add into its renovation. On the other hand, if you buy a property already in good condition, the appreciation room may seem limited. Keep in mind that you may need to sell it at some point in the future, so make sure to follow your heart when it comes to buying a home as a large investment.

2. Set a budget before renovating an old house
You need to set a reasonable budget, because the cost of renovation may exceed the old property itself. Once a renovation plan has been made, a cost appraiser can help you determine a budget. As a reminder, the sooner you take expenses into consideration, the better the result could become.

3. Expenses on insulation
As a general rule, insulating older homes requires not only adding external insulation but also using dry linings on the inside. External wall insulation requires adding a layer of insulation to the outside of the property and waterproofing the outside. This is the most practical solution, and means it won’t affect any internal structure. However, this may require you to compromise on the appearance of the property. While you can restore some details to the original construction of the home, restoration may not be possible around windows or eaves. On the other hand, while a dry lining on interior walls can maintain the appearance, it has limited effect. If the project requires fixing plasterboard to the walls, it may reduce the size of the room slightly. At the same time, you will also need to replace and modify woodwork products such as eaves, doors and windows.

4. Pay attention to lighting
No matter what era of real estate you are looking for, lighting is one of the issues that must be considered. Generally speaking, the doors and windows of old houses are relatively small, so pay attention to whether they can be improved through redesign. Adding skylights, or replacing old windows and doors, are options. Before making a choice, it is necessary to confirm the feasiblity with the designer, and also consider the cost-efficiency.

5. Modern design
Structurally, the living spaces of many older houses are not of modern open-plan designs. Generally, the windows are relatively small which means the lighting is also negatively affected. First, consider what rooms and spaces your home currently has and whether they fit your needs. Then you need to consider how to implement the new design on the existing structure and whether it needs to be expanded. Generally speaking, renovation works require the removal of part of the wall. Also, if you are adding a bathroom, you might need to move the drainage system.

6. Replacing the old pipeline system
Many wires in old houses do not have a ground wire, which is a potential safety hazard. Most old houses use old-fashioned drains. This kind of pipeline is formed by connecting many sections of short pipes, and it is easy to have water leakage at the interfaces after a long time. Such leaks, in severe cases, lead to cracks and slumps in the property. Consult a professional to determine if the property you are purchasing requires a complete plumbing replacement.

7. Decide on the best size for additions
When remodelling an old home, you may consider adding a few more rooms to expand the living area. This is professionally called an add-on, a very practical option for buying land with small houses on top of it for investment. Compared with knocking down and rebuilding, cost of add-on is not that high, and the living area can be expanded. As a result, rents can also be increased. Furthermore, some additions require municipal approval. Before deciding to add, be sure to go to the municipal department to ensure compliance or get approval.

8. Retain era trait
Most of the charm of old houses is hidden in those structures with the particular era trait, such as terrazzo floors, fireplaces, stairs and even the towering trees with a sense of age in the yard. However, once you need to modernize your property, you will inevitably lose some of these characters. Therefore, you need to be prepared before starting work.

9. Structural Reinforcement
Any prolonged drain leaks can be detrimental to the foundations of old homes. If this is the case, structural improvements to the property are required in a timely manner. Before buying a property, be sure to ask a qualified home inspector to inspect the home to have a better understanding of whether the property needs to be strengthened. If the property has never been reinforced, a structural engineer can also be consulted to determine if the property needs reinforcement. Carefully inspect the property for cracks, especially those in basements above windows and doors.

For more GTA real estate info and inquiries, please contact Daisy Huang, Cell Phone/WeChat/WhatsApp/LINE/Telegram +1 647 899 0888

Daisy Huang – Canada Top real estate agent; Experienced broker, GTA professional real estate investment expert and advisor, Buy and Sell expert, Numerous premium top award winner, Real estate hall of fame

With strategic business vision, data-driven authoritative analysis, strong industry connections and resources, as well as a track record of high performance and value delivery. DaisyRealty team provides you with professional realty services that ensure high-value delivery and client satisfaction. 

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