Finance$ August 29, 2023

Pondering Buying an Older Home?

An older house with good bones could represent a fantastic investment opportunity.”

As you gear up for your house search and consider older constructions, it opens up a broader spectrum of choices. Nevertheless, older homes might conceal underlying issues. Here are some crucial factors to ponder (and get professionally inspected) when contemplating the purchase of an older home.

Foundation and Structural Integrity

Due to their age, older homes warrant a comprehensive inspection to assess their foundation and structural condition. Cracks or unevenness in the foundation can lead to problems like moisture damage, dry rot, corrosion, and even structural shifts. According to Safewise, “Foundation repairs can escalate to over $10,000, depending on the extent of structural issues – and homeowners’ insurance won’t cover these costs.” If you suspect any structural damage, it’s imperative to have the building inspected by a licensed structural engineer.

Electrical and Plumbing Considerations

Many older homes still retain their original plumbing and wiring, primarily because updating these systems can prove costly. However, maintaining the original knob-and-tube wiring or the original cast-iron pipes can pose significant safety risks. Outdated electrical systems can potentially lead to fires, while old pipes may result in leaks or diminished water pressure.

Hazardous Materials

The older a home is, the greater the likelihood of it containing hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead. Lead is commonly present in paint applied before 1978 and plumbing installed before 1985. Asbestos can be found in gas fireplaces, roofing, and insulation installed before 1980.

Outdated Heating and Cooling Systems

Older homes were often designed for heating systems using oil, coal, or wood and were later retrofitted with newer HVAC systems. Therefore, it’s crucial to ascertain when and how these upgrades were carried out. Even a relatively modern heating system can be inefficient and unsafe if it hasn’t been adequately maintained.

While houses with cooling systems are likely to be somewhat newer, outdated cooling systems can come with their own set of issues. Common problems with older AC units include malfunctioning fans, reduced efficiency, refrigerant leaks, and electrical problems.

Termite and Pest Concerns

Depending on the location of the home, termites and other pests could pose a substantial problem. The National Pest Management Association asserts that termites alone cause roughly $5 billion in property damage annually. The longer a home has stood, the more susceptible it may be to infestations.