When most people are looking at either buying or selling an older home – in the back of their minds they have a renovation to-do list of changes they would like to make. Whether you are looking for added value or just to create a space that is reflective of you, here are just a few items that we run across when looking into renovating an older home – and by renovating, we mean improving what you have and not adding an addition or second storey.
Many people think visual only. Little concern is given to those things that make your house “run” properly. Here are a few things to consider before you start tearing your house apart:
- Electrical – How old is your electrical system? Can it stand to have more or higher powered fixtures added to the “electrical load”? Is part of your renovation going to have to include a major re-wiring job?
- Plumbing and Heating – What condition is the furnace and hot water tank in and how old are they? They don’t last forever! Is now the time to replace them while your renovating anyway? Check your plumbing fixtures for signs of minor leakage. Minor can very quickly become major! If you have concerns, call a plumber and have them look at your plumbing and heating systems. If repairs are needed what repairs and how much? Have you accounted for this in your budget?
- Structural – Are you planning to remove a wall? Is there electrical, plumbing, or heating services running through it? Where else can they be run if you remove the wall? What is the wall holding up? You may need the services of an Engineer! More money that you will have to spend!
- Was your home built before 1990? If it was, there is a chance that the drywall / plaster contains asbestos. If you leave it alone, no problem, but if you are tearing out wall finishes, or plan to damage them during your renovation, you might want to have them tested BEFORE you start planning any renovations. Asbestos abatement is expensive due to the procedures that must be followed and the cost of disposal of the affected materials. Testing will seem expensive but it may save you much more in the long run.
Finally, most people have only a very general knowledge of what makes their home “run”, before you start have your home looked at by a qualified contractor or home inspector. The small amount you spend now may save you thousands in the long run and armed with the knowledge of what you can or may have to do as part of your renovation, plan your dream renovation based on that knowledge.
Renovating can be a fun or creative experience or a nightmare – lets plan ahead so we can have some fun!