4 Things to Look Out for in an Older Home

Rodent control methods

Buying an older house has its pros and cons. For example, they may have character and that homey feeling but has termite prevention methods been kept up with? While it may be less expensive and an overall better quality building, there are a few things that you should look out for. Here are some of the most common problems with older homes:

Termite Damage
Let’s talk about that one first, since it’s already been mentioned. Termites eat through the wood framing, flooring and wallpaper if there is any. Old homes have this problem more than newer homes because termites prefer the soft wood of a home that’s had leaks. If you are looking into an older house then you might want to think about termite protection the types of pest control that you will need to implement. Pest control services will usually be willing to come to your home every month or so to spray for termite prevention as well as other bugs and pests. Even rodent control methods may be needed. Hiring an inspector in the very beginning can also help to give you an idea of what you are going to be in for as far as critters and pests go. Sometimes, unscrupulous sellers may try to convince you that they had taken care of the house and implemented termite prevention methods but when your inspector takes a lot, there could be damage. It’s a good idea to make it a part of the contract for the seller to prove they have been treating the home.

Lead Paint
Homes built for 1973 could still have lead paint in them. It was banned in 1973, so no homes since then have this problem. However, just because a home was built before then doesn’t necessarily mean that it has lead paint either. For several decades before the official ban, builders were seeing how hazardous lead paint was. Lead poisoning can lead to cardiac arrest if someone has enough exposure to it. Young children are particularly susceptible to it, causing stunted brain development. It can also cause miscarriages in pregnant women. If you suspect that a home may have had lead paint, purchase a lead detector kit or hire a professional to inspect the home. Lead paint can be removed but it will cost you quite a bit.

Inefficient Heating
If a home is more than 100 years old, chances are that the heating system is completely outdated. Oil burners were used back in the day because of how cheap oil was. If the heating system has been properly maintained then this could be a serious fire hazard. Couple that with single pane windows that don’t hold in any heat due to rotting sills and panes and you could triple your heating bill in the winter. If you live in an area that has a very cold season, then you’ll want to make sure that your windows and heating system are as efficient as possible.

Lack of Structural Integrity
If you really want to the unique characteristics of older homes then it’s important to employ the best home inspector in your area. There are often soil issues and structural problems with older homes. You wouldn’t want to have a landslide or other movement issues. While these homes were usually build from higher quality materials and the methods and techniques used are better than today’s standards, a house can only stand for so long. Make sure that you have an inspector look at everything.

It can be difficult to find a good older home that doesn’t have too many problems. Many things have to be in place in order to maintain an old house. This could be anything from termite prevention to updating heating and cooling systems. Plumbing may also need renewing if it has been over 30 or 40 years and the roof if it’s been over 20 years. If all of these things are in place then you might be in luck. Otherwise you are going to have to fix a lot of things, preferably before you even move in. At this point you’ll need to decide whether the cost of fixing things will be worth the price you are paying for the house.

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