Buying an old home is an excellent real estate decision, given its benefits. You can buy it at a lower price than the new ones, usually occupy a larger area, and has reduced property taxes. Some older houses also come with solid construction. They also have more character, something that new houses that tend to look like each other don’t have. But there’s also the fact that old homes also have their problems. These are the things that potential buyers like you should be on the lookout for.
This is one of the most common issues with old houses. The roof condition often depends on the shingles used as well as the prevalent weather in the area, quality of installation, level of care over the years, and roof grade.
Whether you bring an inspector with you or not, you should spot missing shingles, signs of moisture or leaking on the ceiling or attic, and misshapen gutters.
Take note that if you choose a house with a problematic roof, you might have to spend around $7,000 to $8000 on repairs.
Air Quality and Ventilation
It is important to monitor indoor air quality regardless of when your home was constructed. However, most older houses have air quality problems than newer ones likely due to these reasons:
- Use of asbestos. Many structures from the 1930s to the 1950s used asbestos as insulation material and vinyl flooring. When asbestos breaks down, and you breathe them in, they can lead to severe health conditions such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.
- Lack of vent fans. Older homes usually don’t have vents in the bathroom or kitchen, which suffer from heavy humidity. High humidity tends to encourage mold growth.
- Lead paint. An old house might have hazardous lead paint under layers of new paint. You can have your walls tested before making any home improvements to avoid future issues and health problems. Once the newer coats of paint chip off, exposing the lead paint underneath, it can cause a host of health issues to the household members.
- Lack of insulation. Older houses without insulation in the crawl spaces or attic can cause air leaks, where harmful particulates and allergens might come in. Fortunately, you can apply spray foam insulation to resolve this issue.
- Radon. Houses constructed pre-1970 might have a higher risk of radon buildup in its foundation. You might need to run a radon test first to be on the safe side before deciding to buy the house.
Old plumbing in older houses tends to suffer from leaks, especially when they are not well-maintained. Plumbing leaks can increase the humidity in the house, making it the ideal environment for molds.
Lead paint may not only be found on walls. They might also used in older pipes. When they break down, some lead paint materials might leak into your tap water. Some pipes in old homes may also use polybutylene, which is sensitive to cleaning substances, causing the pipes to burst.
Old houses built on grounds surrounded by ancient trees might also have plumbing issues caused by these trees’ well-established roots underground.
You’d know there are plumbing issues when you notice slow drainage, low water pressure, and leaky faucets.
Many old houses have charming windows that might lack insulation, making them less energy efficient. Watch out for condensation on glass layers, draft even when the windows are shut, struggle in closing and opening windows, and lack of filling in wall cavities and floorboards. Remember that you might have to pay around $500 per window to upgrade them to energy-efficient ones.
Quality of the Walls
If you find old homes built out of wood on the inside, they might be more at risk of suffering from rodent problems. These unwanted guests are good at gnawing through the wood. Unless you do your house viewing at night, you might not hear the rodents’ scratching noises behind the walls or under the wooden floor. What you can be on the lookout for are signs of shredded fabric or paper. Don’t forget to check cabinets and drawers for rodent control products. This is one of the clear signs that the current homeowners have an infestation problem. Also, spot small holes in baseboards because younger, smaller rats can easily pass through them.
Now that you know what potential problems to watch out for when considering an old house, this should lower the risk of you closing a losing real estate deal. You can find great offers on these older homes, but you should avoid a problematic one that will only give you a major headache. Don’t regret your investment by choosing the right house for you and your family. Make sound real estate decisions starting with the pointers mentioned above.