Things to Consider When Buying an Older Home



Older properties are often full of character and charm, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll find one that holds some historical significance. However, as great and beautiful as older properties can be, they can come with not so desirable quirks that you may want to take into consideration before making the leap, because, depending on what issues a house has, it could impact things like when you’re able to live there, and how much money you’ll have to spend on things like renovations.


Below we’ve included a list of things you should consider before buying an older home so that you can focus on enjoying it as much as possible.


Issues with Asbestos or toxic paint:


Whilst asbestos certainly served a purpose when it was first introduced to the building trade, it’s extremely dangerous to health and has been directly for countless deaths, so it’s not something to be taken lightly at all and needs to be handled by a professional company that specializes in the safe removal of asbestos.


Many older homes have asbestos, and although it may not be problematic if it’s left undisturbed, if you’re planning to carry out any renovations at all, then you should get the property checked over for asbestos first and have that removed before touching anything.


Another issue that older houses may deal with is toxic lead paints that were quite commonly used in the 1970s, and especially if you have young and growing children living at the property, then this is something you’ll need to get checked and deal with promptly - not just because of the associated health risks, but because it’s also the law if you have children below a certain age in the house.


Foundational or structural problems:


Although older properties are not necessarily poorly built - in fact many of them were built to a far higher standard and were more robust than a lot of today’s modern properties. However, as with everything, buildings deteriorate over time due to general ageing and climate, so depending on when the property was built and how well it’s been maintained and cared for over the years, then you may have to get some advice to make sure the property is structurally sound and safe to live in or if there’s further restoration work that needs to be carried out on the foundation and structure of the property.


Outdated electricals or wiring:


In older properties, a lot of the internal wiring and electrical systems could potentially be quite outdated and in need of some safety checks as well as upgrading. Old or faulty electrics aren’t just a health and safety risk that could cause fires, electrocute you or cause breakage of appliances, but they can also rack up the costs of your monthly electric bill since they’re not going to offer much in the way of energy efficiency like you would find today.


Roofing or plumbing issues:


As with the structural issues that many older properties face, plumbing and roofs can often pose a bit of a problem - especially if they haven’t been updated in a long time or well maintained over the years. Problems with the roof can obviously mean that the house will feel more cold during the winter, and perhaps not able to be cool enough in summer.


Plumbing issues may be with things like old pipes that need replaced or poor water pressure. These issues, depending on how severe they are, can also cost quite a lot of money to fix.


Infestation or pest issues:


Of course issues with insect or pest infestations certainly isn’t exclusive to older properties, and can really happen within any property, but older houses are more vulnerable to certain infestations, so if you’re considering buying an older property it’s always recommended to get the place checked over by a professional Pest Control company before moving in so that there’s less disruption to your life as opposed to doing it after you’ve been living there for a while.


Professionals focused in this area will also be able to give you tips and strategies to help prevent further infestations.


Higher costs:


Older properties, although possibly cheaper to buy, may actually be more expensive to run - especially when it comes to things like energy, water and other utility costs.


They’ll also be far less energy-efficient than their modern counterparts, which can not only boost your monthly costs, but doesn’t exactly do the environment any favors, either. So, having the place checked out and seeing what changes can be made before moving in is always a good idea as this will save you a good bit of money, time, and hassle later down the road.

I grew up in an older home (built in 1899) and experienced first hand all of these issues with older homes. For me, it is the charm of the older home that is so appealing!
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Terri Steffes
Terri Steffes

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