6 Things to Watch Out For When Buying an Older Home

6 Things to Watch Out For When Buying an Older Home

Older homes have a unique charm and character you cannot find with newer constructed homes. Buying an older home gives you the opportunity to create your space the way you want it for a customized feel. Rehabbing the property the correct way gives you an increased equity value that you probably wouldn’t get with a new construction home. If you are considering an older home, you need to consider the potential issues, such as HVAC issues, that are inherent with the home. These issues could be costly to repair, therefore, the issues need to be negotiated into the asking price of the home prior to purchase.

A Weak Foundation

The most obvious signs of a home with foundation problems are sagging floors, doors that don’t open and close properly or gaps around exterior doors or windows. Solving this issue depends on the type of foundation the home has. Is the home’s foundation on a concrete slab, crawl space or does it have a basement level? These are questions that need to be answered to properly repair the problem.

Damaged Electrical Systems

More than likely, if you are buying an older home, the electricity will not be active. It is extremely important to have the electrical system in the home inspected. It would be wise to have this inspection done by a licensed electrician so the work can be guaranteed. The results of the inspection will give you a clear direction on how to tackle the repairs. The inspection will give you a better indication of if you need to replace the electrical box or if the house needs to be completely rewired.

Problematic Plumbing

There are some obvious signs of plumbing issues in any home. Some of those issues consist of increased water bills, the appearance of mold in certain areas of the home or low water pressure. The best way to check for plumbing issues in an older home is to have your plumber activate the water valve to listen for any strange noises or identify any leaking areas. If you’re doing a complete rehab on a home, gutting the walls can reveal any issues with pipes. Sagging floors, funny odors or the appearance of mold in the bathroom and kitchen areas are signs of possible plumbing issues.


Asbestos is common in older homes and usually found in homes built prior to the mid-1970s to 1980s. In older homes, asbestos can be found in vinyl flooring, the roofing area or in areas around the hot water tanks. To ensure you accurately identify asbestos in the home, it is best to have a specialist inspect the home. The inspection will give you a better gauge in determining the proper treatment for the affected areas. In some cases, the best treatment for an area that contains asbestos is to leave it alone and contain it using another type of material.

Damaged HVAC

One obvious sign of an HVAC problem is a missing air conditioning unit. If you’re purchasing a home and don’t see a unit on the exterior of the home, more than likely you will need the services of an HVAC repair specialist. These specialists will be able to tell you if you need to simply replace the exterior unit or if the entire home needs new ductwork.

Poor Roofing

The main sign of roofing issues is dark wet spots on the interior ceiling of a single-story home. The decision to replace a roof can be driven by the age of the roof or the age of the home. Most states require homeowners to give full disclosures to potential buyers on the condition of the home. If a home is more than 30 years old and the roof has never been replaced, you would need to factor the cost of replacing the roof into your construction budget. Having your contractor inspect the home will determine if you need to replace just the shingles or any other items such as chimney flashing or gutters.

Buying an older home can be quite an experience. The benefits of buying an older home are your ability to customize the home and make it the way you want it. In order to make the home what you want, you would definitely need to put an extensive amount of work to bring it up to new standards. With a good team and proper use of resources, you can take an older home and turn it into the home of your dreams.

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