Buying a house can be exciting and complicated at the same time, but buying an old house can be even more complicated. Before you dive into that rare find, make sure to consider the following factors.
It May be Built With Hazardous Materials
Older homes were built with older materials, many of which are hazardous. Asbestos and lead paint are the two most common hazardous materials found in older homes.
Asbestos was commonly used in insulation and fireproofing material and lead paint was commonly used in all homes prior to 1978. It’s important to pay for an inspection that will determine if either of these issues exists.
Lead paint is toxic, especially for children. Experts also believe that asbestos causes lung cancer and other serious respiratory issues. Give careful consideration to the purchase of an older home that has either of these issues. If you do still want to buy the home, you’ll need either issue cared for by a professional that knows how to effectively fix the issue without putting anyone’s health at risk.
There May be Mold or Mildew Growth
Cracks, leaks, and faulty building materials all lead to water dripping into a home. If not caught and if the environment is just right, mold and mildew can grow in the home. They are most common in basements and attics where it’s dark and moist, but mold and mildew can grow anywhere including inside windows, in bathrooms, and anywhere else in the home that water leaks.
If the mold and mildew growth is excessive, it’s best to hire professionals to remove it. Trying to remove it yourself could be time-consuming and risky for your health. The professionals know how to protect themselves as well as everything else in the home to avoid spreading the mold spores.
The Roof May be Historic
It’s common to check the integrity of a roof when you buy a home, but you may be dealing with a different problem when buying an old home. Roofing on some homes has a historic grade. This means you may have to get approval before restoring it and you may have to use certain materials according to the guidelines.
There May be Electrical Issues
Electrical systems in old homes are often as old as the home. This means they probably won’t meet today’s fire code and could pose a serious hazard. Before you assume the home has proper wiring and can handle the electrical needs that you have, make sure to have it inspected.
While having the home rewired can be an expensive investment, consider it an investment in your safety. Faulty wiring can be a serious fire hazard, which can put your home and your own lives at risk.
The HVAC Systems May be Inefficient
If the HVAC systems are as old as the home, chances are they either aren’t working or aren’t efficient. Most older homes didn’t have air conditioning, so pay attention to that important detail. While the home probably has a furnace, there’s no guarantee that it’s in good working condition or that it too isn’t a fire hazard. Having the inspector thoroughly inspect the HVAC systems can help you ensure your safety.
You May Not be Able to Make Major Renovations
If the home is in a historic district, you may be limited on the changes you can make to it. Even if the home isn’t in a historic district, there may still be limitations from the building and planning department of your city. Knowing ahead of time what you can and cannot do can help you make the right decision.
Buying an old home comes with its own issues. While you should always pay for an inspection when buying a home, you want to find an inspector that is experienced in dealing with old homes. This way you know he or she inspects every nook and cranny of the home and gives you a thorough report in order for you to make a decision.