Buying and owning a house is rarely a walk in the park. Before buying our home I constantly heard stories of how strenuous home ownership is, and when we started our home buyer journey I heard many horror stories.
Many of them revolved around buying an old home that constantly needed repairs, is falling apart, sucking in money, etc. etc. But what happened when I heard those? Those tales went in one ear and right out the other.
Because of course – the home I loved was 100+ years old, in one of the less safe neighborhoods with a ton of character and quirks. I fell in love, and managed to get my then-fiancé on board. We toured one house when we were hunting, and it was the house we bought!
The last six months in our first home has been amazing, but not without lessons. Brady’s (the now husband) choice of six things he learned included “learning to ignore your husband even more than before” and “chilling out just a little bit more.” Mine are outlined below.
Lessons Learned from Buying a 100 Year Old House
- Cut corners on a lot of things – but not electrical
- Build your savings account whenever you can because things are going to break
- Practice patience and don’t attempt to fix everything at once.
- Don’t be afraid to haggle and get multiple quotes from multiple vendors
- Embrace quirks and funky elements of your home
- Don’t expect hot water to be plentiful
Cut Corners on a Lot of Things – But not Electrical
The previous owner had done a lot of work, including fixing up the main bathroom, putting on a new roof and painting the exterior. However, there are various elements of the house that need fixing – like much of the old electric wiring that’s been piece meal updated over the years.
We’ve managed to update many things on a budget (kitchen, bathroom and rooms) but have been advised by many that we should not cut corners on doing the wiring. For that we will be working with an electrician instead of watching YouTube videos and DIYing it.
Build Your Savings Account Whever You Can
Every month we anticipate having to spend money on something! Normally it’s less than a couple hundred dollars, but still – it’s an expense. Ensure that you move into the house with a cushion of savings or put aside money every month to go toward the unexpected.
Practice Patience and Take Your Time Fixing Thigns
We made a large list when we moved in of everything we wanted to fix or update (filled over two pages!!). But we aren’t made of cash, so we learned to prioritize. A helpful tip is to list out the things that are vital to house structure, then rank based on what increases property value and then what would be just “nice to have.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Haggle
When fixing up elements of our house the first quote we’ve received has always been the highest and most outrageously expensive. Always, always get multiple quotes from multiple vendors and then sift through for which one fits your budget. Also – don’t be afraid to DIY! You can learn so much from YouTube.
Embrace the Quirks
The quirkiest and weirdest part of your home is often what makes it the best. For us – our entire kitchen is slightly slanted. It’s because at one time it was a sun porch that was walled in to add on square footage. Weird? Yes. Funky? Yes. Expensive to fix? Also yes. So instead of dumping money in we decided to embrace it.
Don’t Expect Plentiful Hot Water
Old house = old plumbing. Make your peace with quick showers and be happy to have water at all. My weekly Sunday baths are now preceded by boiling plenty of hot water on the stove, but I’m just thankful to have such a beautiful and interesting home of my own.