7 Common Things You’ll Need to Fix When You Buy a House

Posted by under Buying a Home

Are you ready to move up a notch on the property ladder and sell your Toronto townhome or condo and buy a detached house? If so, you’re likely excited to say goodbye to the pitter patter of your neighbour’s children overhead or the sound of someone practicing their tuba next door – but you might also be worried about the added costs involved in owning a detached home.

After all, in many cities like the expensive Vancouver or Toronto real estate markets, you’re likely going to have to buy an older home if you want to live the detached dream. That could mean a lot of expensive repairs and fixes. So, just what kinds of tasks could be on your to do list after you buy your new home?

Here’s a round up of some of the most common things you’ll need to fix when you buy a house.

1 – Replacing Filters and Cleaning Vents

After getting your new keys, you’ll want to replace water filters for any filtration system and air filters on the heating and air conditioning systems. After all, who knows when they were last changed? You certainly don’t! This is especially important if you have allergies or the former owners had pets.

While you’re at it, make sure to also change or clean the stove filters and fume hood to prevent grease fires as there could be a build up of grease from the last owners.

Finally, make sure to clean out the dryer vent. A clogged vent can also cause a fire and will make your dryer work harder to dry your clothes – which will mean a higher energy bill.

2 – Removing or Containing Hazardous Materials

Back when your house was built, asbestos insulation and lead paint might have been common, but nowadays, we know the dangers. It’s important to know if your home contains these hazards and decide what you want to do with them. If you have small children, you’ll want to remove that lead paint which could cost as much as $15 per square foot. If your home has lead pipes, you might want to either replace them or add a water filter that removes lead.

When it comes to asbestos, you don’t have to worry too much about asbestos insulation unless you plan on doing major renovations to your home which could expose asbestos materials. In that case, you could have to replace your insulation which could cost as much as $20,000 to $30,000.

3 – Removing Mold and Mildew

If there is one thing about old homes that is universally acknowledged, it’s that they’re more likely to be drafty and damp. That creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

The first thing that you’ll have to do is find out where moisture is coming into your home and seal up the cracks and drafts. Using a dehumidifier will also help prevent further mold and mildew.

Next, you will have to get rid of the mold. While you might be able to do that yourself with mold spray and elbow grease, if it’s a widespread infestation it likely makes more sense to hire a mold specialist. Not dealing with it could have significant implications as mold and mildew can make allergies worse or even lead to infections. The cost will depend on how widespread the problem is.

4 – Fixing Structural Problems

When it comes to structural problems in older detached homes, sometimes a sloping floor is just a sloping floor and other times it’s a sign that your foundation is compromised. Your detached home has been around for a long time and lots of things could have happened to the foundation and structural support.

From cracks to termite damage to dry rot – if there’s a problem you’ll want to get an expert in to determine how to fix it so your home doesn’t collapse around you. The cost would depend one what the problem is, but a fix could run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

5 – Fixing or Replacing Windows

Windows can be beautiful – especially in older homes. From lattice work to stained glass, you might love the look of old windows, but hate the increased energy bills. If your detached home’s windows are single paned, you might want to upgrade to more energy efficient ones. Don’t want to give up your beautiful old window? Then at least make sure that you search for and seal leaks. Replacing windows can be costly as windows can cost as much as $450 to $4,500 per room to replace.

6 – Fixing or Replacing Plumbing

Many people spend big money on aesthetic upgrades to their older detached homes, but skimp on making sure that the bones of the house are upgraded. But the last thing you want to do is come home after a long day of work to find your kitchen flooded. Plumbing isn’t an area you want to forget about since a problem there will destroy the rest of your investment and leave you with a wet mess to clean up. Leaking pipes can also lead to mold and structural problems.

Make sure to check your pipes and upgrade them if hey need them. Pipes aren’t meant to last forever and gradually break down. So, replace them before they fail and leave you sodden! Replacing pipes costs an average of $1,000.

7 – Updating Electrical Wiring

Nowadays, it seems like everyone in the family wants to be on their laptops at the same time while simultaneously charging four other devices. But the one thing older homes don’t tend to have in abundance is electrical sockets. No problem, you might think, you’ll just get an adapter that can take multiple plugs. Not so fast! That could trip the breaker. If your home’s electrical system is inadequate, you might want to get it upgraded and get additional outlets put in.

You also might need to get it updated if there are problems with the wiring that could lead to a fire. Your best bet is to have an electrician come in to take a look and give you a quote for home much upgrades would cost. It could cost up to $15,000 to rewire your whole home.

Make Sure You Get an Inspection

In overheated markets, there are some homes that close quickly in bidding wars without inspections. Don’t make that mistake! Before you buy a home, make sure to have a professional inspect it so that you know what you’re getting into. If you know what needs to be fixed, you can budget for it. The last thing you want to do is move into your new detached home and find out that everything needs to be fixed or replaced!

About Amanda Reaume

Amanda Reaume is a freelance writer who focuses on personal finance, credit, and real estate. Her work has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, The Windsor Star, and online at Forbes.com, Yahoo! Finance, ABC.com , Time.com, USAToday.com, FoxBusiness.com and many other sites.