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6 Factors to Consider When Purchasing an Older Home

By Jamie Richardson | September 13, 2017

Buying a house can sometimes seem like an enormous task. Not only do you have to deal with real estate agents and banks, but you also need to find a suitable place for your family to live. You need to pay special attention if you plan to buy an older home, as they can come with some unexpected surprises.

No one wants to buy a new home only to find out that they have some unwanted residents, such as mice, termites, or bats. Older houses are also notorious for having old plumbing systems, which can cause leaks and moisture problems, or potentially hazardous materials such as lead paint and asbestos. Learn about the following six factors to look for when buying an older home.

Rat, Bat, and Insect Infestation
If you see any signs of infestation when you’re looking at an older house, take the problem seriously. Dealing with unwanted animals, such as rodents, bats, and insect pests, can be a nightmare and a significant expense for a new homeowner. The safest bet would be to hire a mice pest control or even bat removal services, depending on what type of pests you have, to handle this kind of problem.

Dangerous Materials in the House
When looking at older houses, ask about the construction date of the homes. If the homes you are considering date to years before the 1970s, they may contain materials such as lead paint and asbestos. Exposure to lead paint can cause nervous system and kidney damage, and asbestos can cause cancer and lung diseases.

Old, Inefficient Appliances
You can sometimes think you’re lucky to find a house that’s already fitted with appliances, but that’s not always the case. Older appliances and HVAC systems often need to be replaced as they may not work efficiently due to older technology. If you’re planning on adding an extra room to a home, for example, the home's HVAC unit may need to have a larger load capacity.

Faulty Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
House hunters rarely check to see whether smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, but you should note that these detectors are mandatory in many states. You must have them not to simply abide by the law, but also to keep your family safe during a fire or gas leak.

Plumbing and Other Leaks
Many older houses still have original cast-iron pipes. Over time, these pipes tend to corrode, which results in leaks and low water pressure. If the leaking is severe, you could also have a moisture problem, which can cause wall paint to peel and stain and contribute to mold growth.

Insulation Quality
Proper insulation can help you keep your home cool and warm. You'll want to check to make sure the house you plan to buy has proper insulation. Otherwise, you could spend a small fortune to insulate it, heat, or cool it every year.

At the end of the day, older houses can be stylish and cozy. However, getting these features sometimes comes with a price. When choosing your new older home, make sure you check for potential problems to avoid headaches in the future.

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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