Podcast: Season 4 Episode 3 – Old Home, New Tricks: Modernizing an Aging Property

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Season 4, EP. 3 – Old Home, New Tricks: Modernizing an Aging Property


NOTE: This transcript was automatically processed using artificial intelligence and may or may not be 100% accurate.


(Transcribed by TurboScribe.ai – Go Unlimited to remove this message) [Tony] Hello, this is Tony with Household Home Inspections, I’m here with Brian today. Hello. Today’s topic is old homes, new tricks. [Brian] New tricks for your old home. Yeah. I’m looking forward to this topic, Tony. Before we start though, my wife reminded me that you’re new here, and people have never heard you before, except for the last two podcasts. [Tony] Yeah, I am new. [Brian] She thought it’d be good if you just took two seconds and told people who you are. [Tony] Oh, okay. Who I am? All right. Yeah, I’m Tony Youngblood, and I’ve been in the home inspection business for several years now. Before that, I was in the corporate world, manufacturing, paper manufacturing, quality control, safety, and just equipment, or facility management. And so that’s kind of my background. I did that for the longest amount of time. And then transitioned into the home inspection business field. And here I am, lucky enough to be with Brian Bosch. [Brian] Well, we’re happy to have you for sure. [Tony] Yeah, thanks. [Brian] All right. So old homes, new tricks. So what does that mean, Tony? [Tony] Well, you have an older home that you really love the aesthetics, the old feel, the things that you get from a home that was built many, many years ago, let’s say 1920s, 30s. And then you want to go ahead, though, and maybe go ahead and update it a little bit, especially in areas that will probably need some updating for a lot of different reasons. But you don’t want to really affect the charm of the home, the things that you really love about the older home that you can see visually, aesthetically. [Brian] Got it. So new outlets keep the squeaky floorboards. [Tony] Right. You probably want to go ahead and address those types of things for sure. You got, could be your electrical system. You don’t have enough wall outlets around the rooms. You don’t have certain things that are up to date that are make a home safe in your electrical system. Could be plumbing issues. I mean, you’ve got something that’s close to, I don’t know, 60, 70 years old or more, what’s going on underneath that house, right? With all the plumbing and whatnot. So there’s those things. [Brian] So I will say personally, this is a sort of a personal opinion, I guess, but I absolutely love homes that this has been done to. So these are older homes. They’ve got a ton of charm. They did a ton of things back then that we don’t do now that I personally like, my wife likes it too, right? And so those are things that if you were to build a home today, you would have to intentionally do to a new build in order to sort of recreate that same level of nostalgia. And I mentioned some of it before, right? It’s like the squeaky floorboards, the fact that you walk up to the porch, it’s not on the same level as the ground, right? And things like that. You’ve got just charming different sizes of room ceilings maybe, or different transitions because normally those types of houses were added onto over the years and things like that. And so just sort of working with that sort of what you would call charm or nostalgia, I think is really important. When you go to update an older home like that, you want to keep those elements while making it more of a modern standard, right? And so I think that’s really a trick for people, right? Because when you think about people coming in to fix up a home, they’re renovating kitchens, they’re changing walls, they’re moving things. And I think with an older home, it’s a little more of a challenge, especially if you’re trying to keep some of that look. [Tony] Right. I mean, they built things differently back then, not only the add-ons that you talked about and the different ceiling and configurations, but there’s sometimes not as much room to add the modern amenities and upgrades that you might want. So yeah, there’s some challenges there for sure. I mean, with an older home, I think one thing, you probably don’t want to keep those, the squeaky floors, right? No. Well, my wife would love them. She loves those old wooden floors that squeak. She loves them. Okay. Okay. So that’s, okay. [Brian] But no. So when you think about updating an older home like that, right? So most of what we’re going to talk about today are the things that are under the covers. They’re things you really can’t see on a day-to-day basis. [Tony] Right. [Brian] So when I think about an older home, they can be very old, right? So you can have a home built, for example, in the 1700s, it’s still standing today because it’s been maintained throughout the years. And when you’re dealing with those historic homes like that, right, that have been around in some cases for centuries, they didn’t originally have plumbing. They didn’t originally have electrical systems. And so they’ve been updated usually multiple times throughout the years. The big one that they didn’t have that really they don’t, unless they design the house for it, there’s not a great way to add it later is the HVAC system. So when we look at homes, even homes that were built in the twenties and they’ve added the HVAC system later, we see all kinds of strange configurations, right? We just looked at one the other day where they literally just shoved an air conditioning unit in a coat closet in the front. And that was it. There was no air return in the house anywhere. It was literally getting return air from the closet. [Tony] Right. [Brian] And so when you think about updating a home, right. And you think about, okay, I’m buying this older home. You’re going to find strange things like that. And when you find those things, I think it’s really important to hire a professional who knows what they’re doing. Maybe in that particular case, an HVAC engineer, and not just, you know, Joe down the street who runs an HVAC company, right. Get an engineer to come in and really design that system. [Tony] Rather than install it in your coat closet up front. [Brian] Yes. Rather than install it in your coat closet. [Tony] Absolutely. [Brian] And, and like you said, it’s, it’s not easy all the time to find space for those things, because there was no mechanical closet built in 1920. It didn’t exist. So you either need to find a way to build that in, or you need to find a way to do something more modern, where you would put the HVAC in the attic and then figure out how to make the duct work work. Right. Correct. And, and doing all that without destroying your home sometimes can be a bit of a challenge. Right. [Tony] I mean, I guess you could go possibly in the basement crawl space area, if you have enough room. [Brian] Yeah, you can. Doing duct work in a crawl space is really, really tricky. I, I wouldn’t personally recommend it unless you have a company that’s really experienced and knows what they’re doing. When we do inspections on, on homes that have been updated, that were older. Right. A lot of times, some of the bigger problems we find are with the duct work in the crawl space. [Tony] Right. So that’s something you probably want to avoid unless you really have a lot of room and it can be done correctly. [Brian] And you know what you’re doing. [Tony] Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Absolutely. How about the, the plumbing? You know, we see a lot of cast iron and, and things like that in older homes that sometimes it’s been partially update, repaired or updated. And, and that’s just a, that can be kind of expensive, I guess, or. [Brian] It can, it can be very expensive. [Tony] Very expensive. Right. [Brian] Many older homes though, have a crawl space. Yeah. And because it has a crawl space, depending on the crawl space, it can be less sometimes in terms of money, right? If you’ve got a nice big open crawl space, they can literally get to everything. There’s no digging, there’s no tunneling, there’s no jack hammering involved. You’re not dealing with going through a slab to get to, to that type of plumbing. [Tony] Absolutely. [Brian] Yep. And, and so when you are looking at replacing those older pipes, sometimes with a crawl space, it’s cheaper. Now, if, if you have a crawl space, that’s not really built correctly, or it was built at a time where people didn’t worry about getting under the house because they didn’t have plumbing. [Tony] Right. Right. [Brian] Then, then sometimes that area is too tight and then it can be, you know, in many cases, just as much as a slab. So those are things to think about. Older pipes, I like to say plumbing doesn’t improve with age, right? [Tony] Right. [Brian] There’s just no way. Probably the one system that gets the most wear and tear of all of them on your, on your property, with maybe the exception of your roof. Okay. [Tony] For sure. So I mean, but the plumbing itself is something in an older home you definitely want to take a look at because it can be, if not, it could be, but one of the most costly items if you have to. For sure. [Brian] Yeah, definitely. And if you’re buying an older home, don’t, don’t skimp on the plumbing inspection, right? Definitely get the sewer camera inspection with it. Definitely. You want to make sure that, that whoever you’re hiring is doing at least a simple leak test where they’re making sure that with all the fixtures and everything off, the meter’s not spinning, that kind of thing. Oh yeah. Yeah. So plumbing is plumbing can be very expensive. If you’re updating an older home though, you might you might want to consider doing some things, like I said, to kind of keep that charm, right? So when you’re, when you’re looking at a company to come in and, and redo the plumbing, look for a company that’s got some experience in not just demolition and fix the plumbing and have somebody come in and deal with the aesthetics later, right? Look for a company that’s got some experience with older homes, historic homes, and, and knows what they’re doing and can pull those floorboards up carefully. And, and some of the other things that make it easier to restore it to, to the state that it’s in. [Tony] Cause I mean, you want to definitely at least do that and even maybe incorporate some modern design trends, you know, in, in, in different areas where it makes sense and, and it helps maintain the, the special aesthetics that you love about the home and… [Brian] Sure. I mean, who doesn’t want a coffee bar in their kitchen these days, right? You need to make sure that the electrical system can support sort of a modern home, right? So modern homes are smarter. We use more power today than we ever have. And so older homes oftentimes don’t have the same amount of power coming into the house. And so you want to make sure that one of those key updates to an older home is the electrical system, updating it to things like arc fault breakers, tamper resistant outlets, making sure that the, the electrical panel itself can actually support the, the level of need that you’re going to have, right? If it’s a bigger, older home, you might have multiple air conditioning systems. Each of those need to be on their own circuit. So all those things. And then once you’ve kind of gotten that up to date, the other thing you need to be thinking about, because you’re talking about modern design, right? Right. Is the placement of those things. Yes. So that where is your electrical panel going to be? A more modern design would be to put it in a garage. Well, older homes didn’t have garages, right? Or they were detached. Okay. So it’s going to likely be on the outside of your house somewhere. Um, it’s probably somewhere now there’s a good chance that depending on the age of your home, it’s in a closet. You really want to address that, right? A more modern design would be to move that from the closet to an exterior wall or somewhere along those lines, right? Um, you could also consider burying your electrical lines in the yard. Oftentimes older homes have them coming off a telephone pole and over to your roof. Yep. Yep. A more modern design would be to hide those, right? Be more just aesthetically pleasing. Those are small changes, but they’re key changes that can really keep the look, the charm, and in some cases even improve it, um, while improving your safety, improving your, uh, quality of life in many cases. Level of comfort. [Tony] Yep. [Brian] Level of comfort. So what are some things people can do to sort of keep the value in their home, uh, while doing the updating? [Tony] Well, for sure, I would think that on a somewhat annual or biannual basis, have someone out there service the roof, the AC, uh, air conditioning system, HVAC system. Um, also just painting and, uh, keeping the outside of the home protected from the elements, the weather, uh, very important, keeping the water intrusion from coming into your home or under your home being, whichever the case may be, crawl space, basement. [Brian] Control your water. [Tony] Yeah. Control the water around the home. So, I mean, and to me, um, I mean, windows are something that, you know, you definitely want to take care of. I’m not sure how much maintenance you can do. They’ll begin to seal the windows and, and make sure they’re functioning and lubricated properly for sure. That might be it. [Brian] So the, the, the big one for me, um, is really just making sure that the home is well protected. Yeah. Um, you mentioned the roof, right? That’s, that’s a big one. Um, and the siding and things like that, but what you didn’t really talk about so much is sort of the flashing around windows and doors, right? Older homes tend not to be brick. Um, they can be, but they tend to be siding, right? And when they built those homes back then, they didn’t always flash around windows and doors the way we would today. Right. So, um, just checking those things, if you are updating windows, right, which that would be a great update for an older home. Um, just make sure that they’re doing the flashing and the, and the things like that, that really we would do today to sort of keep water from coming in, in maybe a hidden way. [Tony] Yeah. Protect the, the, the house from water intrusion for sure. Flashing would be a really, I didn’t even think about that a good upgrade for, uh, with the windows for sure. Yeah, definitely. [Brian] So Tony, let’s wrap this thing up. [Tony] Sure. [Brian] How would you, how would you wrap up, uh, this particular podcast? [Tony] Well, I mean, I, I think the most important thing is, is that when you, you fall in love with a charming old home and you plan to, you know, upgrade that and you, you want to really, um, do all the right things, but also preserve the charm of the home, all the aesthetics, all the nice things, uh, nice things that you see that made you fall in love with the home. It’s really important to get a good home inspection, which we will do for you. That’s detailed and help show you all the things that you might want to address. You can then make decisions about what’s important to you about your comfort, your safety, and, uh, and, and what do you need to do to make that home, uh, comfortable for you. [Brian] Very good. Okay. Well, if you’re enjoying what you hear or you’re getting value out of it, uh, make sure that you like, and subscribe, comment on the podcast, share it with your friends. Uh, we are with House Fluent Inspections. You can find us on all the socials at housefluentinspections.com and pretty much anywhere in the world, I guess. We’re probably the most accessible company out there. [Tony] Yeah. But we only inspect in the North Texas area. That is true. Today. [Brian] Yeah. Um, so Tony, what do you have going on today? [Tony] Oh. (Transcribed by TurboScribe.ai – Go Unlimited to remove this message)

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