Buying an old building - what to consider?

Buying an old building - what to consider?

It is worth to buy an old building, because usually you can move in immediately. However, it is important to know what to consider when purchasing.

If an old building has no serious defects, buying an old building is a convenient and affordable way to your own home. Of course there will be a lot to modernize in the next few years, but an immediate move-in is almost always possible. In other words, the buyer saves rent and can put the savings in the redevelopment.

The quick way to your own home

The first inspection shows whether the house is eligible or not. Notes on the condition of the exterior (façade, roof), basement, attic and each room help to get an accurate picture of the object.

Defects in the plaster, the roof and the gutter including the downpipe often seem just a minor problem. However, they may have resulted in major damage to the house when combined with rain.

Major renovations are expected when the house is wet, especially if mold has appeared in various places. Interested parties should rely on their nose. Musty odor or a strong smell of room spray, are bad signs. Likewise, of course, damp spots on the walls or a wet basement floor.

Old windows, which do not meet the latest requirements for thermal insulation, can still do their job for several years. However, if they are no longer closed or warped, an immediate replacement is necessary.

Windows and doors in very poor condition also often indicate further damage to the building.

The condition of the garden is of secondary importance. With one exception: very tall trees are nice, but can cause problems later. The felling can be forbidden or is very costly.

If the house pleases, another viewing appointment is advisable together with a building expert. He knows more exactly what has to be taken into account and, if requested, draws up a renovation concept. This makes it clear to future homeowners what measures they will take, at least in the long term.

What needs to be considered regarding the EnEV

Three regulations apply to all who buy an old building. Heating and hot water pipes that run through unheated rooms must insulate the buyers of real estate within two years. This effort is manageable.

The Regulation also requires that boilers installed by the end of 1984 be exchanged. Younger boilers may remain in operation for up to 30 years.

Furthermore, there is a duty to insulate the roof or the top floor if the roof does not meet the minimum heat protection requirements of DIN 4108-2. Whether or not a roof complies with the standards can be found in the bills or an energy consultant can identify them based on the structure.

Typical defects of old buildings

Who knows what to look for, will quickly recognize whether an old building is suitable for him or not , Depending on the age, specific problems increase.

For houses from the years 1970 to 1980, the insulation of the roof and façade has only a minimum thermal protection. The coatings peel off and elastic seals are brittle or leaking. Projecting concrete slabs, such as balconies, form thermal bridges. Condensed water is produced indoors, on windows and on building corners.

If the house dates from the period from 1970 to 1960, the deficiencies mentioned are to be feared. Of the cantilevered components, the concrete often burst already. Furthermore, boilers, water heaters and burners are obsolete. In the next few years, buyers will have to expect repairs to water and drainage pipes.

Who would like to buy an even older object, should calculate exactly: The roof covering is usually in need of repair, a Unterspannbahn is missing. Often, pests have infested wooden parts and dormers are leaking.

The interior plaster and the plaster in the base area are defective, as are zinc covers on façade parts. At the time, protection against rising damp was not common; instead, continuous pull ensured quick drying. Frequently, metal pipes are damaged by magnesite-bonded composite screed. Furthermore, buyers usually have to quickly renew the stairs and the entire electrical system.

Buying a house is usually worthwhile

Despite the shortcomings that buyers of old buildings must expect, the purchase usually pays off. It is important that the building is in order.

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