People often admire older homes for their character and unique charm. However, purchasing an older home has a few downsides to be aware of. For example, older homes may have been built in a time when fewer health and safety regulations were in place, or they may have deteriorated due to a lack of proper maintenance over time. Before you make a purchase offer, it’s important to be aware of the common red flags that typically accompany older homes so that you know exactly what you’re getting into. Here are some of the key problems to look for when purchasing an older home.
The Presence of Toxic Chemicals
The air quality in your home can have a substantial effect on your overall health. As such, it’s important to identify and mitigate the presence of any toxic chemicals in your household. Because older homes were built during a time when there were fewer building regulations, they’re more likely to contain harmful chemicals such as lead, carbon monoxide, or asbestos. Such chemicals can get into the air and cause significant health issues when inhaled. Before purchasing an older home, make sure that a qualified third-party professional thoroughly inspects it to identify the presence of any toxic chemicals.
Foundation issues are more common in older homes than in those built more recently. Over time, seismic activity, wear and tear, and insufficient soil structure can cause a home’s foundation to shift and become damaged. A small crack or two in the foundation of your home may not be of huge concern, but larger foundation issues can pose serious threats to your safety and bank account. As such, you should hire a professional home inspector to take a close look at the foundation before purchasing an older home.
Additional common problems to look for when you’re purchasing an older home are electrical issues. Electrical systems built several decades ago were not designed to accommodate modern electricity needs. If you plan on using a variety of modern electrical appliances such as computers, televisions, HVAC systems, and washing machines, you’ll need to ensure the electrical capabilities of the older home suit your needs. Unless the home has been thoroughly renovated, you can bet that a house over 50 years of age will require an updated electrical system. Because working on electrical can be dangerous, you’ll need to hire a licensed contractor to update the system and have your local building department inspect it.