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What Buyers Should Check When Buying an Older Home

What Buyers Should Check When Buying an Older Home

Older homes often come with plenty of character and history and possibly even a lower price – but buying a home that has been around for a while can also mean that you will have to address age-related problems. These include:
·      Electrical issues
Older homes could have dated wiring and electrical panels that may not be able to keep up with today’s needs, so be sure to check that that the house is up to code. Also, insulation on old wiring can pose a safety hazard, Un-renovated homes may have know and tube wiring, ROMAX or other wiring that can degrade and be a source of a fie. The lack of GFI outlets also indicated that the system is not grounded.
·      Roofing
In general, roofs often need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years. Learn the last time the roof was replaced and how it was done. Some homeowners may just add new shingles on top of the old roof, which is not viewed by housing experts as the best way to replace an entire roof. Also, check for loose shingles, leaks, and the type of materials used on the roof. “A composite shingle roof will cost less to replace than a clay tile or metal roof,” “The pitch of the roof can also drive up costs – a roof that is particularly steep may be challenging to replace and repair.”
Energy prices were much lower years ago so little thought was given to insulation. You will more than likely want to improve the amount of quality of insulation in the home.
·      Foundations
Older homes could have foundations that are cracked, sunken, uneven or otherwise in need of repair. A structural engineer can closely inspect a foundation and alert buyers to potentially costly problems.
·      Lead paint
Older homes may have lead paint, which can lead to serious health problems. It was banned in the U.S. in 1978, but homes built before then may still have it. In fact, about 87 percent of homes built before 1940 contain lead-based paint that needs to be professionally removed.
·      Plumbing
The majority of the problems with plumbing originates with the pipes. Galvanized pipes, clay or cast iron sewer lines, polybutylene piping, pipe bellies, and drains. I strongly recommend that you have the sewer system scoped with a camera as part of your home inspection process.
·      Asbestos
Asbestos was commonly used in building materials. Many products are still in place today contain asbestos,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, according to the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services. If the house was built prior to the 1980s, it was likely built with some asbestos-containing materials. Some include:
•   Cement roofing and siding shingles
•   House Insulation in homes built between 1930 and 1950
•   Textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints
•   Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces
•   Older products such as stove-top pads
•   Walls and floors around wood burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
•   Some vinyl floor tiles, and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
•   Hot water and steam pipes in older houses with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
•   Asbestos insulation for oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets
•   Boilers
•   Soundproofing or decorative material
The presence of asbestos-containing materials in a home is not hazardous unless the material becomes damaged. Damaged, deteriorating, or friable asbestos that becomes dry and crumbles into a powder may release asbestos fibers into the air that can be inhaled and can pose a health risk for the residents. Professional testing is recommended to determine whether materials in your home contain asbestos.
A certified Exclusive Buyers Agent will have the resources to ensure complete and thorough inspections before you commit to buying an older home.