Older Homes and Inspections: What You Should Look For

Older homes have a certain charm, ambiance, and style that simply can’t compare to newer houses. Whether you’re looking to live in an older home or want to turn it around for profit, there are certain things you should look at for before you sign the dotted line. A detailed inspection of the property is absolutely essential when purchasing an older home.

Old houses can be a dream home for some, while for others they can be nightmares. If you don’t know what repairs the house will need when it comes time to buy, you might be in a world of trouble later on. It’s best to get a professional home inspection for best results, and you can do your own when you do a walk-through of the property you are interested in.

Consider the following list of things to inspect and look over in an older home:

Plumbing– Look for old galvanized pipes and patch jobs where copper pipes should be. Faulty plumbing is expensive to remedy, and the last thing you want to have to do is get the whole line ripped out and replaced with copper.

Roof– Be sure to look for loose roof tiles, missing or curled shingles, or patched spots. If there is moss present, there may be a moisture problem present. Gutters should be clear and downspouts should be firmly attached.

Basement water– Flooding in basements is a common problem in older homes, and you should check to see if the basement has flooded. Inspect the bottom of the furnace and water heater for rust. Also make note of how much is currently being stored on the floor. If there’s a lot of junk, the floor is dry.

Insulation-Older houses in colder climates are often poorly insulated. If it doesn’t have good storm windows and screens, you may be able to include the cost of installing energy-saving insulation and storm windows in your mortgage.

Termites– In some states, a termite inspection is required by lenders. Termite infestation occurs most often where wood meets dirt, such as foundation levels for wood-built homes and decking.

Lead– Lead paint is no longer used in homes and buildings, but the EPA requires that anyone who is considering buying a house that was built before 1978 to receive written information about lead paint. Chipping lead paint is particularly dangerous, especially to children.

Asbestos-Used widely before 1975, asbestos is a fireproof mineral that can cause lung cancer. The most common asbestos problem may be from heavy insulation wrapped around heat ducts from an old furnace.

Electric service– Keep in mind that houses that were built before the turn of the century didn’t have any electrical service. The service should be modernized with at least one outlet in each room.

Since the results of a home inspection can be an indicating factor on an older home’s true worth, it may be a good idea to get a valuation report. You can rely on a free home value report from Neighborhood IQ to learn what your home is worth.

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