Buying an older home can be an exciting venture into history and nostalgia as you explore the unique qualities of a house that has stood the test of time. It is important, however, not to allow the charm of antiquity to distract you from properly evaluating your potential purchase. It would be a shame to buy your dream house only to discover you need to invest even more money in unexpected repairs. Fleetwood Real Estate wants you to be prepared when hunting for an older home, so here is a list of details any thoughtful home buyer should check before signing that final deed:
1. Invest in Two Inspections
Readers may sharply inhale at this statement, but the investment is a wise one. House inspectors are people, and people can make mistakes. The first inspector may carefully catalogue every instance of repair and maintenance needed throughout the house, save one. That one missed repair could turn out to cost several thousand dollars you hadn’t planned on spending. Save yourself the shock of unexpected expenditures and inspect the house twice.
2. Electrical Systems
Electrical wiring should be checked for integrity. Over time, unseen rodents can chew through wires, causing faults in the proper functioning of your lights and appliances. Further, electrical boxes that are half a century old are often not equipped to handle modern demands. Outdated boxes are easily overloaded and have a tendency to blow fuses.
3. Heating Systems
Most coal-based heating systems have been upgraded to oil or gas systems. These systems usually vent into chimneys. If the chimney lacks a flue liner, you will need to invest in installing one to ensure the protection of your home. Some chimneys have older terra cotta lining, and these linings break down under the increased heat of modern systems. You will need to invest money into maintaining or replacing these older chimneys and flue liners. The age, type, condition, and efficiency of the heating system should be considered when evaluating a home.
Older homes often have outdated insulation systems or a lack of insulation. If your prospective home has inadequate insulation, you can count on spending more money heating and cooling your home than you would in a modern home. Additionally, some older insulation carries asbestos, which is hazardous to your health. Make sure to inquire about and inspect for the presence of asbestos.
Plumbing in older homes is usually made from materials that corrode with time and use. Iron and lead pipes, as well as cast iron drainage systems, can become clogged with mineral deposits and wear thin (to the point of cracking) over time. Unless the home you’re considering has been gutted and updated with modern plumbing, you can expect to invest in repairing plumbing or purchasing modern pipes.
Roofs are made from a variety of materials, and each of those materials has its own lifespan and maintenance needs. It’s important to ask what the roof is made of and how long ago it was replaced or retiled.
7. Moisture and Mold
Older homes frequently fall prey to leaks from the roof and other structural gaps. Moisture can build up around spaces like the attic, windows, and doors. Moisture encourages rotting and mold growth. Mold can be hazardous to your health as well as being a powerful allergen. Check to see if there are any spots about the home which seem to be gathering moisture—these areas will likely need structural maintenance and/or mold removal.
Talk to a Realtor at Fleetwood Real Estate
Fleetwood Real Estate wants to match you with your ideal home. For an enjoyable home-buying experience, contact me today to set up an appointment!