I have a young family member who is trying to buy their first house. They have their eye on a small century home with a stone foundation. The house is well staged and looks great, but there is a dehumidifier running in the basement. Is this a red flag? I’m worried what might happen when it comes time for them to sell. – CONCERNED
DEAR CONCERNED: It’s wonderful that your young relative has a family member looking out for them. The rich history of a century home makes it undeniably attractive to certain buyers, and that richness sometimes comes with unique quirks they’ll need to take into account.
Given the vintage of this house, the original builder probably used the basement for cold storage and utility space. The typical modern buyer wants a little more out of their square footage, and may choose to put a rec room or an extra bedroom downstairs.
Movie night in the basement of a house with a stone foundation may be a bit less cozy than it would be if the house was newer, but a vintage homeowner may be happy just to throw on a sweater. People who love old houses are like people who love old cars. They delight in the novelty and charm of their purchase, and often choose character over perfection.
A cooler basement may not be your first choice, but it’s not something that would keep me up at night. A dehumidifier can take care of the typical basement mustiness, which is what the current owners have discovered. If the home has central air, the air conditioner will remove a lot of the humidity (just as it does in your car, which is why you see puddles under idling cars on hot days). You can reap the same humidity-busting benefits year-round by installing a dehumidifier on your furnace.
In my own house, I keep the furnace fan running all the time. Leaving the fan on in a forced air system adds a few extra dollars to your electric bill but keeps the air in the house more balanced. Moving cool air upstairs and pushing warm air down keeps everything fresh, which is especially desirable in a house with a stone foundation.
PRO TIP: Do an inspection to see if there is active water infiltration in the house. If nothing is found, I wouldn’t be concerned about selling this home down the line. Century home buyers generally understand that vintage homes lack some modern amenities but come with advantages you won’t find in a new build. Keep the furnace fan running, and basement humidity likely won’t be as big a challenge as you think. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator
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