First-time homebuyers often find themselves captivated by the allure of older homes and vintage dwellings. The classic crown moldings, intricate trim, and high-quality woodwork showcase a level of craftsmanship that is rare to come across in newer constructions. Older homes boast sturdier structures and aesthetically-pleasing facades, qualities that are often absent in modern McMansions. However, beneath the charming exterior of an older home, there are potential issues that can turn the dreams of homebuyers into wistful gazes at rental listings. So, what challenges can you anticipate when purchasing an older home?
Prior to the 1970s, energy was relatively inexpensive, leading to a lack of insulation in most homes constructed during that period. If insulation is present, it is typically subpar, comprising balled-up newspaper or strips of cloth that provide minimal protection against heat loss or air leakage. Therefore, when considering an older home, be prepared for higher energy bills or allocate a portion of your budget for insulation installation.
Outdated Wiring and Electrical Concerns:
Mid-century homes relied on basic electrical systems, and many older homes were initially built without any electrical wiring or outlets. In numerous older properties, the wiring is a haphazard amalgamation of antiquated systems and materials. Knob and tube wiring, ungrounded outlets, and cloth-insulated wires are commonly found. While these materials were once deemed durable and long-lasting, the passage of time has rendered them potential fire hazards. Buyers may need to contemplate extensive electrical work to ensure their older homes can safely support modern appliances.
Cast iron drains and pipes were prevalent in the construction of older homes. These materials were once deemed indestructible, but with time, they experience wear and tear. If the pipes or drains were not appropriately sloped, extensive rust and damage may have occurred. If you are purchasing an older home, it is advisable to hire a licensed plumber to perform a video-scope inspection of the lines and check for any signs of damage.
Asbestos in Older Homes:
Asbestos was widely used as a fire retardant in the early to mid-20th century. Unfortunately, asbestos is a friable material, and when it deteriorates, microscopic fibers become airborne and pose significant health risks, including cancer when inhaled. Asbestos found its way into various components of older homes, such as ceiling and floor tiles, as well as pipe and wiring insulation.
Asbestos is no longer used in modern-day home construction due to its carcinogenic properties. Determining whether a home contains asbestos is challenging through visual inspection alone. It is prudent for homeowners to have the materials tested by a laboratory. Asbestos is harmless when undisturbed, so intact asbestos siding, ceiling materials, or tiles can be left untouched. However, if homeowners intend to remove suspected asbestos materials during remodeling, caution must be exercised to minimize the associated risks.
The likelihood of finding lead-based paint increases with the age of a home. The federal government did not ban lead-based paint in housing until 1978. Consequently, if your home was constructed before then, it is probable that it contains lead-based paint. Peeling or chipping lead-based paint poses significant health hazards and requires immediate attention. If you suspect your home may have lead paint or simply desire peace of mind, it is advisable to arrange a lead paint inspection.
Regardless of the age of a home, it is crucial to engage a licensed and experienced home inspector before finalizing the purchase. The inspector will meticulously assess the property and provide a comprehensive inspection report, enlightening potential homeowners about any issues an older home may harbor.
The main big reason why you need to assess the house that you are trying to acquire for you to see the whole big picture what’s going on with the house. Only home inspection experts can help you with that. Contact us if you are in need home inspection services.