At first glance, purchasing an older home may seem like the most cost-effective option for a new homeowner. You find a home with “good bones” and feel confident that you can make the appropriate cosmetic upgrades to bring it into the 21st century. But the cost of upgrading an older home is going to be more than a little elbow grease; it could drain your pockets a little quicker than you may have expected.
According to the latest findings from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s American Housing Survey, the median age of a home in the US is 37 years old. In 2017, that’s a home that was built in 1980. Maybe that’s even a house just like the one you grew up in, which may not exactly be your dream home?
The American Society of Home Inspectors estimates that the average house may need a 50% replacement over a period of 30 years.
- A $100,000 home will require 0.75% of its value in maintenance in each of the first ten years after construction. That’s $7,500 over the course of ten years.
- During years 10-20, the home same will require 1.5% of its value for maintenance each year or $15,000 over ten years.
- When the home is 20- to 30-years-old, maintenance will cost 3% of its value each year or $30,000.
When you buy a home that is already 30+ years old, you’re moving in at the time when the cost of maintenance and updates are at its peak.
Cost of Upgrading an Older Home … Top to Bottom
We’ve highlighted several of the renovations you’ll need to make to an older home, when you can expect to make them, and the national average costs to get the work done.
Hidden Dangers in Old Home Renovation
Beyond the cosmetic and system upgrades necessary in upgrading an old home, there can also be costly dangers hidden inside. As your renovations begin, you may find one or many of these hazards behind the walls of an older home.
Lead Paint – Homes built before the 1970s could potentially contain lead paint, on the interior and exterior. As paint or exterior siding peel and flakes, the particles of lead paint become airborne and can be ingested. Homeowners may need to strip off layers of paint or completely replace exterior siding.
Lead or Polybutylene Pipes – Pipes in old homes can be a double threat. Lead pipes can cause toxic levels of lead mixing in with your drinking water. Beyond lead, your plumbing pipes may also be made of polybutylene (PB) plastic, which was used between 1978 and 1995. This weaker plastic can leak or rupture without warning, causing flooding in your home.
Outdated Electrical Wires – Home electrical systems cause about 46,000 fires each year, many in homes 40+ year old that haven’t been inspected in years.
Radon – Radon is a natural radioactive gas that enters homes through cracks in the foundations. One in 15 U.S. homes has a high level of radon. To fix the issue of radon, you will need to seal your basement floor or install a costly ventilation system.
Mold – Damp indoor areas, including floors, walls, and carpets are ideal places for mold spores to grow. Older homes are more susceptible to mold because plumping pipes are not adequately sealed, causing leaks and condensation to occur. If a mold problem is large enough, it will need to be professionally removed