Are You Buying an Older House? Here are 6 Critical Things To Check

An older house may cost less, has more character, and may be located in a desirable neighborhood. However, it may come with a list of challenges you didn’t anticipate. Carrying out an independent home inspection before signing the contract is a must. It enables you to decide whether it’s worth the price and what repairs or renovations to carry out. Here are six critical things your inspector should check:


1. The Electrical System

An older home may have a 60-amp electrical service, which is insufficient by today’s standards. You will need a Columbus electric panel installation to upgrade the system to accommodate more appliances and devices. The new system should be 200-amps and have circuit breakers rather than fuses. Besides this, consider adding more outlets and ensuring all have ground fault circuit interrupters.

Another electrical issue to check is the knob and tube wiring. This was the standard in homes built before 1950 and involved putting ceramic knobs into drilled holes and then running the wiring through the tubes.

The problem with this system is that it’s not grounded and doesn’t have a metal sheath to protect the wiring. It makes the system a fire hazard, and you may need to rewire the house.

2. The Plumbing System

The inspector should check for any leaks in the plumbing system and signs of water damage. Older homes may still have galvanized steel pipes prone to rusting. The pipes contaminate the water and may need a replacement with copper or PEX piping. Check whether the system has a backflow valve to prevent contaminated water from flowing back into the house in case of a sewage system backup.

Older homes may have sewer lines made of clay, which are more susceptible to root damage and cracking. This damage can cause sewage to back up into your home. Have the sewer lines relined or replaced if made of clay.

3. The Roof

A roof inspection is essential to ascertain how much life is left. The inspector should check for any missing, cracked, or curling shingles and signs of leaks. They should also inspect the gutters and downspouts to ensure they’re in good working condition. If irreparable, factor in the cost of a replacement when negotiating the home price.

4. The Foundation

Cracks in the foundation and signs of water damage lead to structural issues. The inspector should check the basement or crawl space for any cracks and signs of leaking. They should also check the grading around the foundation to ensure water flows away from the house. These problems can be expensive to fix, so you may be able to negotiate a lower price for the home.

5. The Heating and Cooling Systems

An HVAC inspection is essential to ensure the systems are in good working condition. The inspector should check the furnace, ductwork, and air conditioner. They should also clean the vents to eliminate any dirt, dust, or pollen circulating through the house. Determine the system’s age, efficiency, and size to know if it needs replacing.

6. Asbestos and Lead Paint

Asbestos was commonly used in construction before the 1970s because of its heat-resistant and fireproof properties. However, it’s now known to cause cancer, and its removal is expensive. The inspector should check for asbestos in the insulation, flooring, and popcorn ceilings.

Lead paint was also commonly used before 1978 and can cause health problems, especially in children. Check for any lead paint and test for high levels of lead in the soil around the house.


Understand The Home’s Condition Before Buying

A comprehensive inspection lets you know the home’s condition, whether it’s worth the price, and what repairs or replacements to budget. Don’t skip this critical step in the home-buying process. Extensive damage is expensive to repair. It’s best to know what you’re getting into before making an offer on the house.




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