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Fixing an Old House? 4 Hidden Problems that Lead to Major Spending

Steve Weir October 15, 2018

Are you thinking of buying a house at a cheap price? If so, you may already be envisioning modern finishes, top-of-the-line upgrades, magazine-worthy remodels, and a problem-free renovation. The reality of buying an old house isn’t so cut and dry. In fact, the rule of thumb when renovating a house like this is to always expect an issue…because most of the time you’ll find one. Before you start spending money on aesthetic home finishes, you might want to make sure that none of these problems are waiting to take a huge chunk from your wallet.

#1: Replacing the Septic System
Cost: $15,000
 
As the septic system is not within the purview of a home inspector’s search, you’ll have to rely on the realtor or previous homeowner to tell you what state the septic tank is in. Digging up and installing a new septic tank can really eat into the cost of your renovation. Generally speaking, septic systems are designed to last a very long time, but if they aren’t properly maintained, they may need to be repaired or replaced prematurely. And unless you want to contaminate your property with sewage, you can’t prolong this repair.
 
#2: Roof
Cost: $7000–$50,000
 
The cost of replacing a roof depends on the square footage of your home, the type of roof system you have, and the extent of the damage. But no matter what, roofs need to be replaced every 25 years or so. If you’re shopping for a fixer-upper, try to find a home that has at least a new roof because dishing out $20,000 for 50-year shingles can significantly limit your ability to upgrade the rest of the property.
 
#3: Rewiring with Copper
Cost: $10,000–$12,000
 
If you’re gutting your new-old home and you notice that your wiring is made of aluminum, you’re looking at an expensive repair. While many people love to tempt fate by keeping their aluminum wiring as is, we don’t think it makes too much sense to spend a hundred thousand dollars on a total gut job just to have your brand-new house burn to the ground. Causing house fires is what aluminum wiring is known for, after all. Copper may be more expensive, but it’s much safer.
 
#4: Repairing Foundation
Cost: $10,000–$40,000
 
To some homeowners, this is often the most devastating repair. And with such an expensive price tag, we kind of understand why. Cracks and leaks in the foundation usually signify other expensive problems that need to be fixed. The biggest culprit of foundation damage is water. If water sits next to the foundation for too long, it starts to create major problems. Signs that water is wreaking havoc in your house is a musty, mouldy basement, stained walls, and visible cracks. If the previous homeowners weren’t strict with keeping water away from the house, they may have caused a lot of problems for you to fix.
 
Baeumler Approved can help you navigate the difficult and costly (but exciting!) process of transforming an old house into your forever home. We have accumulated a network of Baeumler Approved professionals that meet our high standards of service and whom we trust to help you renovate your home.

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