It’s one thing to admire the beauty and charm of an old cottage or house, and another thing altogether to actually live in one. Suddenly the practicalities of the situation hit you, as various bits go wrong and other bits need repair. But what should you look to change first, and will it always cost a lot of money? Here’s a quick guide to keeping on top of your hidden issues with older homes.

What should I replace first?

The first thing to check thoroughly is the roof. If this is in good condition it’ll make any issues inside far easier to deal with. If it leaks, however, you could have huge problems down the line, as water damage is no laughing matter, so get it fixed quickly. It’s likely to cost a fair amount of money to do this, especially if your roofer needs to use scaffolding, but it’s entirely necessary to prevent far bigger costs in the future.

Then you need to look at the plumbing and the wiring. If old plumbing is leaking this can also create a lot of damage, so make sure you get this watertight and efficient. If electric wiring isn’t up to scratch, that can lead to fires and electric shocks, so it’s vital for your safety that you get this checked and, if necessary, updated too.

What can I save money on?

There are issues you might be able to deal with yourself for minimal cost. If your windows are draughty, for instance, you can reseal these easily enough, which might solve the problem. If your radiators aren’t efficient, you can bleed them or flush the pipes and you may find they improve markedly. Insulating your loft is another job you can do yourself. Many older homes still aren’t insulated, and you’ll certainly notice if this is the case in the colder months. Even calling someone in to insulate your home for you doesn’t cost the earth.

What is worth spending more money on?

As well as the likes of roofing, central heating is worth spending your pennies on. Some older homes have none at all, others have old fashioned central heating which is nowhere near as efficient as modern systems. Investing in top-of-the-range central heating and radiators will add huge comfort and will keep the bills down.

Double glazing is another addition that’s worth adding. Houses lose a lot of heat through single-glazed windows, so an upgrade will keep energy bills down as well as adding soundproofing and improving security.

Some of the costs you encounter may seem eye-watering. But it’s worth remembering that you’ll make the money back in the long run because a well-kept old home is likely to increase in value, so any improvements you make will surely be a worthwhile investment.