Buying An Older Home? Check For These Problems First
Is buying a house in Atlanta in your future? If you’re heading into the older neighborhoods, the character, charm, and unique personality of places like Morningside and Buckhead are probably pulling you in.
Older homes are located in the best locations. In many cases, they have that something special you’re never going to find with new construction. And not only do you like the allure of the inside of the home, but there’s also something about moving into a pre-established neighborhood that steals your heart.
Yet by buying an older home, you’re also taking on the problems associated with aging real estate. And depending on the age of the house and how well it was maintained, the problems can be fairly significant.
Work closely with your real estate agent to find the home of your dreams. But don’t forget to bring along an inspector when you’re ready to put in an offer.
1. Old Plumbing
The plumbing system is the heart of your home. Little can be done without a proper plumbing system in place. And if the home you are considering purchasing needs updating, it can be an expensive and time-consuming project. And it’s not just cast iron piping that can be of concern. Head back in time, between 1978 and 1995, and you’ll find polybutylene piping was commonly installed. Polybutylene piping was introduced as a low cost alternative, only to find it deteriorates in 10 to 15 years from the inside out. Evaluate the age of the pipes of the home you are considering. Determine the system, if it’s been upgraded, and even determine what it would take to bring it up to current conditions to operate safely and efficiently.
2. Old Electrical
Like old plumbing, old electrical can have it’s problems too. Many older homes still have their original wiring. And in many cases, the load simply can’t keep up with today’s technological advances. Old electrical systems pose a significant fire risk, putting you, your family, and your property at risk. An inspector should take notice of any potential problem areas and call out signs of danger, such as blackened switch panels or overloaded breakers. Determine what it would take to rewire the home before you move forward.
3. Old HVAC Equipment
HVAC equipment can also be a problem in older homes. Depending on the age of your home, it may not have been built with air conditioning, or even with today’s modern heating equipment. Which means it’s not properly insulated to prevent leaks. Energy efficiency can be a huge undertaking, requiring you to rebuild the heating and cooling system from the ground up, with eco-friendly concepts in mind. And while many options can help you build in efficiencies quickly, that can add extensive costs to making the home move-in ready.
4. Hazardous Materials
Older homes can also have a variety of other concerns that can require attention to make them safe and secure for your family. Radon is a carcinogen created by the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, water, and rock. If radon gets trapped within a home, it becomes dangerous for humans. Many homes built before the 1970s weren’t made with protection in mind, making them a higher risk for radon buildup. Likewise, older homes didn’t come with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in place. And while they are easy to install, many older homes may have had systems installed through DIY processes, aren’t well maintained and may not function correctly. The only way to stay safe is to ensure your home is modernized with the latest safety features, including working alarms and detectors that can alert you to potential dangers.
Are you buying a new home in an old community? Is your new house as safe as can be?