Fixer-uppers and historic homes are among some of the best investments you can make – as long as you make sure to avoid potentially hazardous situations. Old houses have a certain undeniable appeal. The architectural style and building materials often set them apart from modern homes. Just like their more modern counterparts, there are specific things to avoid when buying an older home. Let’s go over the most common:
Asbestos and lead paint are the two most common toxins found in older homes. Take containment and replacement costs into mind before making a final decision whether to purchase a home that may contain these toxins. Homes built or remodeled during 2004 or 2005 may also contain Chinese drywall. This doesn’t sound so bad until you realize that it puts off sulfur gasses that lead to illness and damage to the home itself. Complete removal is required.
Concrete breaks down over time, especially if it isn’t cared for and maintained. Crumbling foundations must be repaired, no questions asked. The extent of repairs needed will dictate the cost.
Even the best roofing materials only last up to about 80 years. The age of the home will help you determine how old the roof is. Ask specific details about the age of the roof before you get into a bidding war with someone over a historic home. Roof repair is often very expensive.
Lack of sufficient drainage leads to wet basements or crawl spaces, mold, wood rot, and faulty foundations. Wood rot leads to all sorts of bugs and crawling creatures, including termites. Pay very close attention to whether the guttering and downspouts are in place and ground level grading. Gutters, downspouts, and grading issues are relatively easy and inexpensively fixed. Just make sure that extensive damage has not already occurred.
Termites and Other Pests
Termites and other pests love moist areas and rotting wood. Make sure to take a good look at any areas which appear to collect moisture or where any wood may be rotting. Rotting wood is usually relatively easy to replace, but a termite infestation can be a nightmare.
Mold tends to grow in areas in which moisture collects. Avoid purchasing an older home if mold is present, because it is a surefire sign that there is a moisture problem for a good portion of the year.
Outdated Plumbing and Wiring
This is probably a given with older homes, but it is worth a mention. Outdated plumbing creates additional costs when you consider that you’ll have to replace a lot of tubing and pipes. Outdated electrical wiring is a fire hazard and will have to be replaced.
Hire a Home Inspector
Purchasing an older home is an exciting journey toward home restoration and sometimes home renovation. Many people go into the process with the best of intentions but are quickly shot down when they run out of money for necessary repairs that they didn’t anticipate. Hire a professional home inspector to inspect the home before you make a final offer and sign the official paperwork. It could save you a lot of money and a huge headache in the end.