Things to Pay Attention to When Buying an Older Home
Updated: Sep 20
Buying a home is one of the most stressful processes a person can go through. To start, you have to find a home in the right price range with the right location and added features. A lot of times, newer homes are not being built in the area you are looking for. Or, they are not the style, layout, or the overall functionality you are looking for. Buying an older home gives you the option to purchase a home that is well established in a neighborhood. You have the ability to meet neighbors and work with previous owners to ask questions about the area candidly. While there are a lot of upsides to buying an older home like style, location, and price, there are some downsides. Read on to learn about the most important questions to ask and red flags to look out for.
One very common downside to older homes is asbestos. We have learned in the last few decades that this flame retardant was actually fairly dangerous and caused cancer typically in the lungs. Once this was discovered, the substance was eliminated from home use and hopefully corrected in those affected. However, this correction was not made until around the year 1989. This means it remains in a lot of homes built in the 60s and 70s that are going on the market today. Getting a well-referred home inspector to look into this matter is extremely important. Getting a second opinion is not a bad idea either. Remember, sometimes things are skipped on an initial overview. Take the extra steps necessary to ensure that your home is safe for you and your family.
Another unfortunate but common occurrence in older homes is the use of lead paint. We learned that lead was extremely dangerous in the late 70s. Thus, it was eliminated from toys, paint, and any other product it was used for. Lead paint causes several health issues. You should make removing this a priority, especially if you have young children that will be living in the home. It is actually a federal law now to eradicate the lead in a home before allowing a move in.
Lastly, one of the most important things to ask you, inspector, about is the foundation of the home. There is a lot about a home’s structure and foundation that you cannot see from just looking at it. Moisture under the foundation of the home is a sign of more issues to come. Make sure that you have invested in an inspector and a contractor that will address the issues promptly. Issues like this will potentially lead to insects, unstable structural issues, flooding, mold, etc.
Making sure that these issues are put to rest and completely handled can be costly and a lengthy process, especially depending on the season in which you are doing construction. Be mindful when shopping and ask these questions openly to an inspector and agent to make sure nothing sneaks up on you.