Buying an Older Home: The Risks and How to Assess Them

If you are looking for a home with character and a warm, lived-in feeling, look no further than a home that dates back a few decades. There is something endearing about the details in an old home, romantic in history and charm in every nick in the hard wood floors. However, old homes do require maintenance. When buying an older home, it is important to know and assess the risks to ensure you are getting your money’s worth.

Building Code Compliance

Building codes and laws are constantly updated for the safety of our homes and our families. Older homes may not be up-to-date with building code compliance, which could cost you a pretty penny to update. Check out Common home repairs for houses built in the 20th century range depending when it was built.

If you are worried you are biting off more than you can chew with an older home, ask yourself, and your realtor, these five questions:

  1. How is the roof?
  2. How old is the electrical?
  3. How old is the plumbing?
  4. Have there been any past foundation problems?
  5. How is the house heated?
  6. It’s a Matter of Materials

Older homes tend to have outdated materials in the home. It is important to determine if the home is lead, mercury, and asbestos free prior to investing in the property.

Closet Space

Only in recent decades have our houses, and our closets become bigger because we tend to buy more than ever before. Older homes have limited storage space, so finding creative ways to store everything from clothes and linens, to household knick-knacks, will present a problem.

Deep Rooted

That big, beautiful tree in the front yard is endearing and provides a nice shade over the lawn. However, old trees that come with old houses tend to be deep rooted. These strong roots can grow towards the foundation and plumbing systems underneath the home, potentially requiring expensive replacement work.

This Old House

At the end of the day, if you fall in love with a house, you will work through the potential problems. Generally speaking, older homes may require maintenance, but the purchase price is often less.

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The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.