When purchasing a home it is always recommend to go through an inspection. Often times, a qualified inspector may find things that you wouldn’t notice or have any knowledge of. In older homes, this is especially true. When looking at homes you’ll want to be extra mindful of what year the home was built, what condition the home is in, and if there have been any upgrades made over the years.

Your realtor should be able to help guide you when purchasing an older home, and answer any questions you may have regarding some common issues.

Consider This When Purchasing an Old House

Dangerous Building Materials

When it comes to old homes, the building materials may become obsolete or even dangerous; you have to be mindful of that. In older homes it is common to find asbestos, plaster walls or even lead paint. When purchasing a home you’ll have the opportunity to understand exactly the type of home you’re purchasing through a sellers disclosure. Your realtor will also be able to contact the sellers for any questions you may have about the building materials used in the home. 

Outdated Insulation

Having your home properly insulated can help keep heating and cooling bills down. When looking at the home be sure to check the status of the insulation. Over the years the types of insulation used in homes has changed, you may have insulation that is Vermiculiate, Fiberglass, or Mineral Wool. If your home isn’t properly insulated, you may want to contact a contractor for an estimate on repairs. Replacing the insulation in a home could become costly, so keep that in mind when buying an older house.

Outdated Electrical Systems

Another thing to look out for in older homes is how the electrical system is setup. One common setup in older residential homes is Knob and Tube wiring. Knob and Tube wiring lacks a ground wire, making it incompatible with newer three-pronged appliances and electronics. Replacing this old wiring can become pricey, so be sure to ask your realtor about this if you are unsure.  

Abandoned Oil tanks, Septic Tanks, Wells

Another curse of old homes is abandonment, of structures that lie underground. It would not be unusual to find abandoned oil tanks, septic tanks, and even wells that are no longer in use when purchasing an older home. When starting your search for a home you should inquire about any older underground structures. These structures could cause issues in the future and you’ll want to have them removed or inspected before purchasing your home.

Deteriorating Roof

A deteriorating roof can lead to a multitude of other issues in an older home. Not only can an outdated, deteriorating roof cause leaking, but it can also have bigger structural issues. It’s important that you find out the age of the roof and when it was last replaced. During your inspection make sure your inspector thoroughly checks the roof for any repairs that may be needed.

Energy Efficiency 

When your older home was built it was not equipped with the technology we have today. You’ll want to make sure your home as efficient as possible to save on heating and cooling bills. Check to see how old the windows are. You’ll also want to check if there are any drafty doors that need to be insulated, repaired, or replaced. Making sure your home is energy efficient can save you money over the years.

Plumbing Issues

Older homes are usually outfitted with outdated materials, and this is often times the case when it comes to plumbing. During your inspection check to see if you’re able to get a sewage line inspection. Your inspector will run a camera through the line to see if there are any leaks, cracks, or root intrusion. You’ll also want to make sure the materials used in the pipes are up to code – lead pipes are often used in older homes. Make sure you connect with your realtor and the seller to find out more about the materials used in the plumbing.

Final Thoughts

Many people prefer to purchase an older home for their charm and character. While it may seem like a lot of work, an older home is a great option for many home buyers. Working with an experienced realtor can help make the process of buying an older home a lot easier.

If you’re looking to buy a home in the South Jersey area, please contact me with any questions you may have.