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It may be your dream to live in an old home that has a lot of history and a unique character. Unfortunately, your dream home may also come with issues that can easily turn into a nightmare. If you are planning to purchase an old house, here are some things you should look out for:
This should be the first thing to be addressed by anyone buying an older home – especially if they have kids under the age of six! As you know, lead can cause major health problems, particularly in small children. Homes that were built before 1978 could have lead paint. Know that even if the seller paints over the lead paint, it’s still going to be there underneath that thin new layer. Make sure you find out whether or not there’s lead paint in the house.
Asbestos has been banned in 1978 but many older homes still have not had the asbestos in their homes removed. You should know for sure that there is no asbestos. Know that if there is, the cost of removal can be a bit pricey.
It is quite common for older homes to have foundations that are cracked, sunken, leaning, or damaged in other ways. Remember that the entire house sits on that foundation so a weak foundation is not something you ignore.
The electrical systems in older homes were not designed and installed for modern usage. You might find that the system in that house you are eyeing cannot handle all the appliances, devices, and gadgets that you use on a daily basis.
If the electrical outlets in the house only have two holes instead of three, you can’t use any device that requires grounding in the outlet. While you may use adapters, they are not meant for long-term use and eventually, you will have to hire an electrician to fix the problem. Another issue with ungrounded outlets is when there area three-pronged outlets on an ungrounded house that is false grounding, that could lead to damage to whatever is plugged into that outlet.
Older homes have older roofing, naturally. You might find that there are missing shingles or moss. Your inspector may also discover issues that are not visible to you. If you intend to buy an old house, prepare yourself for the high probability of needing new roofing.
Older homes were not built to be energy-efficient. In fact, there are a lot of old homes that have no insulation at all! The windows that they have are often just single-paned. You should consider the cost of getting energy upgrades for the house before you purchase it.
You should look at the expiration dates of your alarms and make sure that each unit is working properly. Every level of your home, including your basement, should have a smoke detector. You should also have one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the home and ideally, it should be in the sleeping area.
Take some time to look at the trees on your property. Are there trees with branches over your roof? They could shorten your roof’s life! They could also provide rodents with easy access to your chimney. And of course, those branches could always fall on your roof! Make sure you have your trees trimmed when needed.
See if the earth slopes away from your home or towards it. If it’s the latter, it can easily lead to basement water issues. It’s a good idea to slope dirt away in areas that come in contact with your home’s foundation.
Make sure that the inspector has access to critical areas of your property, including your electrical box, hot water heater, air conditioning units, furnace, attic door, and more. Your under sink plumbing work and any other areas that are blocked off by storage should be cleared. See, if the inspector is not able to access a certain area of your house, that would no be included in the report and your prospective buyer might ask questions.
Most older homes also have an old style water source. People used to have hand-dug wells for their sole water source but that can pose some important health issues. One of those is the increased risk of contaminants. You don’t want to take chances when it comes to your drinking water. Another issue is that an older home can also have worn out pipes that can lead to additional issues.
Old homes, especially those that haven’t been occupied for a while are the ideal dwelling for pests. There can be insects, mice, rats, and other animals and pests. While they are often just an inconvenience, others can be health hazards.
It can be challenging (or really expensive) to get homeowners insurance if your home has old electrical and plumbing systems. A lot of policies won’t cover any damage that is caused by an old and worn out system. To get the insurance, you need to update the systems in your home extensively.
If you are considering buying an older home, make sure that you get the services of a reputable home inspections company. All Star Home Inspections can ensure you that we will thoroughly check the house and present you with a complete and comprehensive report so you can make an informed decision.
UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TOPICS ABOVE WILL ALLOW YOU TO MAKE THE RIGHT PURCHASING DECISION. DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE QUESTIONS? ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CALL!!