1960’s House Reno or Tear-down | Roberts Creek

Abstract: Roberts Creek Home Inspector notes on a 1960’s house and whether it’s worth spending the extra effort to renovate it to modern standards.

Photo: Roberts Creek has many dated homes situated along the waterfront that are showing their age.

The community of Roberts Creek is heavily treed, and only when you drive well into a property do you see its great view. This past week we inspected a 1960’s era house. I personally am fond of this vintage of house. This one was uncomplicated, full of mysterious cut-outs or cover plates, with a minimum amount of renovation, insulated as can be expected, an open basement and crawlspace area, single pane windows and… a rotary dial phone.

This era of house will be drafty, which is a good thing. The high level of air infiltration keeps the whole house healthy. Air movement ensures that the indoor moisture is effectively removed (source of mold) and the indoor air quality will be similar to that outside.

So if there is a musty smell in the basement, it is probably due to lack of air movement because there are fewer doors and windows that leak. By improving ventilation in these enclosed spaces and adding some heating to temper cold air, the house should continue to perform well.

But does a dated house like this require a renovation to make it energy efficient? Well that’s very subjective. For my perspective, I would not want do any major renovation, unless money is not an issue. Generally, if the house is liveable, then just leave it alone and do scheduled maintenance and repairs.

If it is not an architecturally significant construction then spending a lot of money on it may not be worth it. If the house is indeed a vanilla construct, then no more than 15-20% should be spent on the reno. This percentage is applied against house value not total assessed value… as the lot will usually be worth multiples more than the house. Why spend so little? Well in our experience

In this particular situation, the better alternative to renovating may be to do just enough to make it liveable, following the 15-20% rule above, budget and save for a new dwelling. Then with cash and finances in place, knock it down and build new. But that’s just one inspector’s opinion.