There are a lot of excellent reasons to purchase an older home. They tend to have a lot more character and plenty more stories to tell than newer homes, and they may even be available in architectural styles that aren’t very common in your location anymore. However, there are also quite a few features you need to keep in mind when you’re shopping for an older home. It’s easy to get drawn in by the beauty and charm of an older house, but always remember to think it over before you spring on something that could cause problems down the line.
Look for Hazardous Materials
Older homes may contain a variety of hazardous materials. Any home that was built before 1985 is at risk for having lead pipes, and homes built before 1978 may have lead paint on the walls if they were never stripped in all that time. Homes built before 1980 may also contain asbestos in their insulation, roofs, fireplaces and walls if they haven’t been updated. Homes built before the 1970s may be prone to radon gas buildup and should be tested.
Frame and Foundation
Check the foundation of any older home you’re looking into buying. These homes have been sitting there for a long time and, if they haven’t been kept up with perfectly, there’s a good chance they’re going to have some foundational damage. Take a look at the frame of the home, too. While you may end up with a house that has a real, heavy wood frame—which is great—you may also get one that has too much space between the frame and walls, which can contribute to fire hazards.
Plumbing and Electrical
Lead or steel pipes can be very dangerous and should be replaced before you move into an older home. Many homes have probably already had this taken care of, but not all of them. Make sure you have a home inspection to find out what type of pipes the property you’re considering may have. Electrical wiring may be made of aluminum in older homes, which is a serious fire hazard.
Working Smoke Detectors
Always check for working smoke detectors and, preferably, working carbon monoxide detectors as well. If the house doesn’t have any in place, don’t buy it until they have been installed or you have tested for the presence of carbon monoxide in the home. You may be able to negotiate for these alarms to be upgraded if they’re very outdated, too.
If you truly like the charm of an older home, don’t let this stop you form purchasing what you real want. Those homes come are typically located in established neighborhoods, larger lots and are surrounded by mature landscape. Your real estate agent will hire an experienced and thorough inspector who knows exactly what to look for.
Are you looking to buy a home, new or older? I am a local area expert in the west valley, and I can help you find a home that meets your needs and lifestyle. Contact me today to get started! 602-329-7782