This Old House Makes DIY Look Easy, Learn Why To Hire a Remodeler

DIY Remodeling Is Not As Easy As This Old House Makes It Seem

We've all watched home improvement shows like This Old House that showcases beautiful old homes. These programs make renovating them look easy. In fact, buying an older home can be cheaper than new construction and offer elements of character and quality that new construction might not have. Older homes are often located closer to downtown areas offer benefits like the convenience and lower transportation costs, plus after watching those shows, you might think it's simple to take on some of those renovations yourself saving money and increasing your profit potential when you sell.

The reality is, that while older homes do offer you benefits, it's easy to overlook the real costs of owning an older home. Let's look at some of the hidden costs of owning and renovating and why it's important to hire a professional design build remodeler to do the heavy lifting!

First, What Is an “Old House”

As a general rule, homes build after 1990 are considered “new” construction and homes built before 1920 are considered old or antique. Of course, housing age is subjective and there are certain factors that can “age” a home like the materials used or natural factors like the weather.

Other factors to consider when thinking of buying an old home include construction quality. Some modern construction and techniques may mean homes that are more solidly and durably built. Even though older home construction may be high-quality, there may be hidden issues like asbestos wrapped pipes or floor tiles in homes built prior to 1970. Ultimately, it often requires the skill and diligence of a professional design-build contractor to help you navigate the solution to these problems and keep your family safe.

Climate and geology also can affect an old house. Many homes located in Greater Ann Arbor are older and due to humidity, temperature extremes and storms may have issues like roof damage, or excessive moisture in the basement.

Of course, in an older home, there may have been prior renovations. It is common to find floor joists that have been cut, dangerous wiring, plumbing without the correct ventilation, and improperly sized HVAC systems. Modernization can reduce future problems, bringing older up to local building codes and making it difficult to truly define their age.

“Hidden” Costs to Consider

Often potential home buyers are enamored with the charm, character, and details of an old home, but there may be hidden costs lurking beneath the surface. For example:

• Big Energy Bills - Old homes are often not built to the standards of newer homes when it comes to energy efficiency. Check past utility bills and compare the savings proper insulation and high-efficiency windows will bring when a professional is guiding your choices.

• Heating and Airconditioning - Again, an old house may have an old furnace or boiler. Furnaces and boilers can last 50 years or more, but again, new technology has made heating much more energy efficient. At some point, an older HVAC system will become unsafe of ineffective and will need replacement, again at a cost of thousands of dollars. A professional remodeler will be able to suggest the best equipment and direct you to a properly sized heating system.

• Roof - Roofing generally last 20 to 30 years. Eventually, it will wear out and need replacement. Depending on how many layers of shingles were installed over the years, you may be able to over-shingle your existing roof saving money. If you need to strip it down, the cost can be several thousand dollars. An expert can spot problems and make the repairs that can extend the life of your roof.

• Exterior Issues: Painting, Siding, Window Replacement - Older homes with wood siding need painting every few years. While a resourceful homeowner can do this project themselves, If you have a home with multiple stories, it may be easier to hire a painter. This can cost thousands of dollars depending on the scope of work. As part of an exterior remodel, painting or staining may seem like a way to save money, but having an expert provide paint options, prepare the surface, handle the lead paint remediation, prime and paint will ensure professional results that often times last longer. Of course, you can choose to replace older wood siding with a low-maintenance material that never needs painting, but the can cost $30,000 or more.

Older homes may have single pane windows that can increase your energy costs. In colder climates, single pane windows offer little energy retention. Replacing windows can be expensive, costing around $300 per window.

These are just a few potential hidden costs. All of these factors can increase your cost of ownership and you should consider these factors when making a decision to purchase an old home.

If You Do Buy an Old House, Hire A Professional 

Sometimes, you just fall in love with a home and nothing else matters! The good news is almost anything can be repaired, remodeled and upgraded if you have the budget to do so. If you do take the plunge, the best solution is to hire professionals to do any work. Before you buy an older home with the goal of remodeling it, contact a professional like the experts at Forward Design Build Remodel. They can help you better understand what will be required to update the home to a design you'll love all while ensuring the safety of your family.

Working with a professional design build firm offers benefits like:

A Professional Remodeler Saves You Time

You many have the best intention and the skills to re-roof your home, but if you have a full-time job, it can be tough to find the time to pull permits, buy materials and do the work. A professional firm can reduce the time for a project from months (or longer!) to weeks.

Avoid Mistakes and Save Money

While it does cost less to buy the materials and save on the labor costs, if done incorrectly simple renovations like updating plumbing or electrical, tile work or woodworking can cost more to fix or bring up to code than it would have cost to hire a professional!

You'll Love The Results That Come From Experts

Even the best DIY job can't come close to matching the quality and craftsmanship of having a professional work on your home. They are knowledgeable in advanced techniques, understand the structure of a home, and all of the individual components like electrical, plumbing, HVAC and more. They can prevent problems from occurring in the future and solve unexpected issues that inevitably arise when working on an old home.

Buying an old house is an exciting and rewarding experience. Nothing beats the warmth of an older home that's been professional restored and remodeled. If you own an old home and are considering several projects, consider hiring a professional design build firm Like Forward Design Build Remodel. Give us a call. You'll save time, money and love the results!


Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.