4 Things to Be on Alert for When Buying an Older Home

Older homes often come with plenty of character and possibly even a lower price. But buying a home that has been around for a while can also mean dealing with age-related problems.

RISMedia’s HouseCall has tips during the home inspection process for home shoppers to watch for before purchasing an older home, including:

Watch for electrical issues.

Older homes could have dated wiring and electrical panels that may not be able to keep up with today’s needs, so be sure to check that that the house is up to code. Also, insulation on old wiring can pose a safety hazard, RISMedia’s HouseCall warns. Have an electrician look over the home to be sure everything is in order.  

Carefully inspect the roof.

In general, roofs often need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years. Learn the last time the roof was replaced and how it was done. Some homeowners may just add new shingles on top of the old roof, which is not viewed by housing experts as the best way to replace an entire roof. Also, check for loose shingles, leaks, and the type of materials used on the roof. “A composite shingle roof will cost less to replace than a clay tile or slate roof,” RISMedia notes. “The pitch of the roof can also drive up costs—a roof that is particularly steep may be challenging to replace and repair.”

Check the foundation.

Address any potential foundation issues immediately. Older homes could have foundations that are cracked, sunken, uneven, or otherwise in need of repair. A structural engineer can closely inspect a foundation and alert you to potentially costly problems.

Check for lead paint.

Older homes may have lead paint, which can lead to serious health problems. It was banned in the U.S. in 1978, but homes built before then may still have it. In fact, about 87 percent of homes built before 1940 contain lead-based paint, according to RISMedia. Make sure that it is professionally removed.

Read about more potential issues to watch for in an older home at RISMedia.