Re: my new old home
As others have pointed out, protecting the integrity of the building envelope (roof, siding, doors, windows) is one of the top priorities. In my mind, there are two other priorities which come before that: foundation and grading.
If the yard is sloping toward the foundation, you will always have problems caused by groundwater. These problems will affect every part of your home. You also need a good, solid foundation (including support piers in the basement or crawlspace). Repair the foundation and level the house first; doing any remodeling before fixing the foundation and leveling will either make it impossible to level the house, or damage the work you've already done when you go to do the foundation. Keep in mind that it may be impossible to get the floor perfectly level, but many old houses can be brought much closer to level. That will make remodeling much easier because things will be straighter and squarer.
If both foundation and grading work need to be done, it makes the most sense to do them both at the same time.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.