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Buying an Older House
by Garet Dennis

Denver had a strong real estate market through the early-mid 2000s. Denver also has a large inventory of old houses. Many of these old houses are in neighborhoods that were considered less desirable until just a few years ago. They were typically lower income neighborhoods and some of the old houses have been neglected for many years.

People have been moving back into the older neighborhoods and fixing up the houses. For the most part that's a good thing. But sometimes it's not so good. The older houses are attractive for investors. With new carpet, paint, kitchen cabinets and appliances it's not hard to take an old house and make it look nice. With a little spit-n-polish the house is restored to its original charm.
Unfortunately many of these houses need more than just cosmetic repair. I frequently see old houses that look great at first glance. But after a closer look I find major problems with plumbing, electrical, heating or with the structure itself. Sometimes the cosmetic repairs need to be done all over again after fixing these major systems.

What should home buyers do?

  1. Keep realistic expectations. Unless you've been told that all the systems have just been upgraded you should expect that most old houses will need some repairs or upgrading. That's just a part of owning one.
  2. If it looks like there has been recent work on the major systems, ask if the work was done by licensed contractors and if there were building permits. Is there a warranty? Building permits are still required for major work, even if done by the owner. These are public records that anyone can check.
  3. Consider buying a house that hasn't been fixed up yet. Keep an open mind - it's hard to look past the rough edges but with new carpet, paint, kitchen cabinets and appliances it's not hard to take an old house and make it look nice.
  4. Hire a professional home inspector who's familiar with old houses. When buying a house your emotions run high making it almost impossible to stay objective.

Relax and be patient (but persistent) and you'll find that perfect old house!

Resources by Garet Dennis:

old house inspection colorado

Chuck Bralish


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Chuck was AMAZING! He spent several hours in my home looking over everything. He was very detailed which I really appreciated! Plus, I got my full report emailed to me by the end of the night with a detailed description and photos of what needed attention. I highly recommend Chuck, you won't be disappointed! Veronica. D.

Chuck is fantastic!! Very knowledgeable and thorough - Highly recommend if you need a property inspection. Gavin R.

Chuck is phenomenal!! Friendly, punctual and knowledgeable. It was a pleasure to work with him. He walked us through the entire process and was able to make recommendations on what to fix as well as a network of people that could help us. Highly recommend!! Katie D.

Having watched the build of my new home I thought that I caught everything however Chuck spent over four hours and found a few major and many minor issues. I would highly recommend Chuck. Randal R.

We were very pleased with our experience with Standard Property Inspections and with our interactions with Chuck. Chuck was very flexible and easy to work with. He showed up as scheduled and did everything we talked about. His thorough inspection helped us gain negotiating power with our property. We were very pleased and we'll definitely recommend him to others! Omar N.