The housing market exploded in 2021, and the cost of homes skyrocketed. While home prices stabilize, some buyers seek out older homes to stay within their budget. However, older homes sometimes come with problems. The Real Estate Inspection Company has extensive experience in identifying these problems. In this post, we share five things to consider when buying older homes.
A house’s foundation is the underlying key to its structural integrity. Therefore, foundation issues are one of the most detrimental problems with older homes. Foundation settlement, which is a common issue, occurs when the soil underneath the foundation shifts. Settlement can cause foundation and wall cracks, make doors and windows difficult to close, and separate the foundation and home’s frame. Other foundation problems include water leaks, termite damage, and poor drainage. A buyer’s home inspection will reveal foundation issues and other problems with older homes.
2. Sewer Lines
Homes built in the 1930s and earlier may use clay or cast-iron sewer lines. Over time, these sewer lines can corrode and crack. Cracks in the sewer line can allow tree roots to enter and block the pipe. This can cause a backup in your home’s drainage system and create an unsanitary mess. No one wants sewage back up, slow water drainage, and foul odors. Today, PVC or ABS are the standard materials for sewer lines. If you’re concerned about sewer lines, we recommend a sewer line inspection.
3. Electrical Wiring
Buying older homes gives you character and history, but it also brings challenges. In addition to old sewer lines, outdated electrical wiring also presents a risk. For example, ungrounded outlets, aluminum wiring, and knob-and-tube wiring all require a home electrical system update. Aluminum wiring is particularly dangerous because it is more prone to heat damage and fires.
4. HVAC and Insulation
Climate control is another issue to consider when buying older homes. For example, older homes often have outdated or inefficient HVAC systems. While some ductwork and HVAC systems can last for decades, they may not meet today’s energy-efficiency standards. Additionally, older homes may not include much insulation. Fortunately, adding insulation isn’t a huge undertaking.
5. Toxic Materials
Older homes may contain toxic substances, including lead-based paint and asbestos. Lead-based paint, asbestos, radon, and other materials present serious health risks. Be aware of the risks so that you and your loved ones aren’t exposed or put in harm’s way.
Inspection Services and Resources
Buying an older home can be a great way to stay within your budget, but it’s important to be aware of the risks. Download our free resource to learn more about considerations when buying older homes.
If you’re considering buying an older home, don’t let the challenges scare you away. The Real Estate Inspection Company’s professional inspectors can help identify significant issues and provide detailed findings. View our full list of inspection services. Then, call (800) 232-5180 to schedule an inspection in San Diego County, Orange County, or Riverside County.