6 Potential Pitfalls to Beware of When Buying an Older Home

There are many things to love about moving into an older home but there are serious things to consider as well. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices we can help you buy a home no matter what you are looking for. That said, we always want our clients to know exactly what to expect from their home. Today we are going to cover some potential problems that you should look for when searching for an older home.

1. Asbestos and lead should be looked for

Asbestos was banned by the EPA but not only 1989. Any home built before then could potentially have asbestos in it. It is common for older homes to have already had the asbestos replaced but if they have not, then you should know that it is a costly process to do so. The same is true of lead paint. If the home was built before 1978, then lead paint was still legal. If the home still has lead paint, and there will be a child six years or younger living in the home, then federal law requires that the lead be removed.

2. The foundation and sills should be thoroughly inspected

Older homes can have foundations that have been cracked, are leaning, are sunken, or otherwise need repair. Remember that entire house sits on the foundation and even a minor issue can be a major problem. The sill plate should be checked thoroughly as well. As time goes on, it can be susceptible insects, water, or other elements. Both the foundation and the sills should be checked by a qualified inspector.

3. Be on the lookout for electrical issues

If you’re looking at a home that was built more than 50 years ago, then you are looking at a home that was built with an electrical system that’s not designed for today’s usage. For example, an older home may have knob and tube wiring, which was prevalent from the late 1800s through the 1930s. It involves single-insulated copper conductors that do not have the capacity to handle today’s electricity needs.

4. Look into insurance costs

It can be very expensive to insure an older house, especially if there are older electrical or plumbing systems. Some policies may be affordable but not cover any damage caused by these symptoms. The cost of insurance can significantly increase your monthly costs.

5. Pay special attention to a roof

Any home you are considering buying will need to have the roof inspected but this is even more true of an older home. Why? Because on many older homes, instead of replacing the roof, previous homeowners may have simply covered the roof with new shingles. This looks fine but will not stand up for decades the way a new roof would.

6. Consider how much you are willing to spend on utilities

Unless it has been significantly updated an older home is unlikely to be very energy efficient. In fact, when you talk to people who own older homes that is likely one of their first complaints: It is so expensive to heat and cool.

Does any of this mean that you should not buy an older home? No – it just means that you should take all the relevant factors into consideration. Talk to a real estate professional today to learn more about available homes for sale in your area.