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What to Look for When Buying an Old House

By Anita Townes | March 6, 2020

When buying a house, many people tend to lean toward the newest models with the shiniest appliances. Buying an older house, however, can be just as rewarding as buying a newer one. In fact, older homes hold a touch of history, culture, and character that’s hard to come by in newer models. Of course, buying an older home also requires a bit more planning and research on the prospective homeowner’s part.

Some older homes are not as well-maintained as others, and finding one that matches your tastes can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Narrow down the options with this guide for what to look for when buying an old house—you’ll find the home of your dreams in no time.

External damages

When considering what to look for when buying an old house, it’s always best to start on the outside and work your way in. Start by assessing the home for any obvious signs of external damage. Inspect the house’s foundation for cracks and to see if it has sunken into the ground in any way.

Then, set your sights on the sky and inspect the roof for signs of damage. Most roofs only last a maximum of 25 years and will often start to show signs of damage much sooner if they’ve been exposed to severe weather conditions. Be on the lookout for missing or damaged shingles and areas where it appears that the roof has lifted away from the home or started to sag inward. This way you may determine if residential roof replacement services are required.

As you move inside the house, keep an eye out for mold, water damage, or signs of pest problems. Insect infestations may seem like a minor issue at first glance, but a colony of termites can do much more damage than most people realize.

Internal issues

Once inside the house, you should also look for signs of deeper-rooted, internal issues. These may be a bit harder to recognize, so be sure to have the house’s most recent inspection reports on hand. Plumbing issues can often be recognized by mold or water damage on the walls or ceilings of the house.

Light switches should be tested in each room of the house, as should all electrical outlets. Faulty wiring is the leading cause of house fires and should be treated very seriously. You should also inspect the house for the presence of lead and asbestos. These materials are not uncommon in older homes, as they were once popularly used in paint and plaster. These materials are incredibly hazardous to one’s health and should be properly disposed of by a professional waste removal service immediately upon discovery.


You don’t need to only focus on the negatives when buying an older house. You should also look for a home that matches your individual style preferences. Older houses often possess a very rich history and culture and frequently boast impressive character. Many older houses tout gorgeous crown molding and built-in bookcases, elements that are not frequently found in a more modern home. Be sure to really take the time to sus out the character of a house before purchasing. You never know what beauty may lie beneath some hard work and elbow grease.

Anita is a Realty Biz News Contributor and loves all things real estate from housing, marketing and investing.
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