Older Home Issues

Older Home Issues

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Adrienne Breaux
Sep 25, 2008

We see a lot of homes of all sizes and ages here on AT. And while the character and personality of an old home can be what first attracts us to a specific house, these aging structures come with their own issues that should be considered when debating buying an older home or already living in one...

While we all love to see the facelifts of run-down or outdated homes, there are needs specific to older structures that are more than just cosmetic and that should be investigated before purchasing an older home. Some issues are obvious and apply to just about any home, but some might be a surprise.

  • Foundation: Like any house, it's important to make sure your house isn't about to crumble apart. Make sure you find a home inspector who's knowledgeable with older homes.
  • Electrical System: Not only do you want to avoid any fire hazards, with today's modern appliances and technology, you're going to want to make sure your home can handle all of your gadgets.
  • Plumbing System: Find out what your pipes are made of. Replacing pipes can be expensive if needed, and some systems might need to be retrofitted to work with new types of toilets and fixtures.
  • Temperature Control: Finding out what sort of heating and air conditioning units exist in the home can save you trouble and money. They might be inefficient for your heating and cooling needs today or cost too much money to operate.
  • The Roof: Since a roof doesn't last forever, it pays to take a very in-depth look at the health and type of the roof. Arrange to visit the home during a rainstorm to see if you can witness any potential leaks.
  • Flooring: More than likely, if the home is older they'll be covered in a less-than-desirable and less-than-attractive material. It might seem easy to say you'll change it, but investigate how easy it will be to remove the flooring and how level the foundation looks. Needing to level a floor a lot can be costly.
  • Walls: Identify what types of walls you have as soon as possible. Most homes have the more popular drywall, but some homes may contain original plaster walls. These two types require different needs and different repairmen.
  • Windows: Although the look of original, old window glass is gorgeous, checking out the windows are an important item on the older home issue checklist. The windows may not energy-efficient and they will probably have lots of drafts.
  • Room Size/Style: Not only do we have more stuff than previous generations, we also use homes differently. You may fall in love with a home's particular architectural style, but if the room sizes or designated uses don't realistically fit your own needs, you may be in for a lot of costly remodeling. Kitchens and bathrooms especially will be smaller in older homes, and may contain features that you'll never use.
  • Home's Age: Do the appropriate research yourself to determine how old your home may actually be. Not only will this help you restore it to its former glory, but also you may be eligible for certain tax breaks in your city. And of course, you'll want to be able to accurately wow people with your historical transformation!

Tell us about your older home. How old is it, what do you absolutely love about it, but what have been some issues that you've had to deal with or didn't consider? Let us know!

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