Tips for Buying an Older Home in Downtown Phoenix

historic home Downtown Phoenix Real Estate
Ashland Place, Downtown Phoenix

Are you thinking about buying an older home in Downtown Phoenix? It’s a fabulous place to live, and we highly encourage you to go for it! That being said, beyond the charm, character, tree lined streets, and fabulous downtown activities, there are a few things you should watch for when buying an older or historic home. Here are our tips for buying an older home in Downtown Phoenix.

1. Learn a little about older or historic homes

Reach out to the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office. They can give you great information on the Do’s and Don’ts of remodeling historic homes, as well as any easements you should be aware of.

2. Look up!

Start at the top. When you have your eye on a home, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at a few things. From a distance, examine the roof and chimney. Look for a sagging roofline, leaning chimney, and any sort of obstructions. If you can, examine the roof shingles or tiles for signs of rotting, cracking, or other damage. Check the chimney for loose or missing mortar, and verify that the flue liner is intact.

3. Windows are next

Check out the windows. Do they look original? Moreover, are they in good shape—no cracked or broken glass, or damaged sills or rails? If the windows are not original, are they compatible with the house?

4. Look down!

How is the basement or crawl space? Many of these historic homes weren’t built on concrete slab foundations – rather wood, pier and beam foundations. Keep your eyes peeled for signs of water damage. Puddles, clogged drains, or a sump pump make it clear that water has been an issue. 

5. Take another look up

Don’t forget the attic! There are several key things to pay attention to in the upper reaches of a historic home. Make sure there’s no wildlife (look for signs of animal damage, nests, or hives), holes in the roof not visible from outside, or water damage. Also, check for climate-appropriate insulation.

6. It’s internet time

Check for any violations at the property. You can also check for permitted work previously done on the home here.

7. Get inspections

Get an inspection (or multiple) by a qualified home inspector who specializes in older homes and/or by a structural engineer. Inspections to consider when buying an older home in downtown Phoenix are: overall home inspection, HVAC inspection, termite inspection, roof inspection, etc.

8. Scope it out

Many historic homes still have the original cast iron sewer lines. Getting an inspection during the inspection period could save you a lot of money and hassle down the road.

9. Budget it out

While you won’t need to secure and purchase insurance before signing the contract, it’s a good idea to get an estimate on the costs.

10. Take the guess work out of the equation

We highly recommend choosing a realtor to work with that not only knows the Downtown Phoenix neighborhoods well, but who is also knowledgeable about historic and older homes. By letting them know what your goals and preferences are, as well as the type of neighborhood you’d like to live in, the right real estate agent can take the guess work out and possibly save you time and money!

We hope our tips for buying an older home in Downtown Phoenix has been helpful! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 602-903-7220 – we would love to help you with any of your real estate needs.

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