Buying an Older Home

by Jill Santandrea, Broker Manager, EXIT Homestead Realty Professionals

When searching for the next house to call home, there’s a lot to consider. Opening your home search to older constructions can increase your options; however, older homes may be harboring issues beneath the surface. Here are some things to consider (and have inspected) when purchasing an older home.

Foundation and Structural Issues: Due to their age, older homes should be inspected thoroughly for foundational and structural damage. Cracks or unevenness in the foundation can lead to moisture damage, dry rot, corrosion, and shifting of the house. According to Safewise, “Foundation repairs can escalate to over $10,000, depending on the extent of the structural issues—and homeowners insurance won’t cover these costs.” If you suspect structural damage, be sure to have the building inspected by a licensed structural engineer.

Electrical and Plumbing Issues: Many older homes have their original plumbing and wiring, as updating these systems can be costly. Keeping the original knob-and-tube wiring or the original cast-iron pipes, however, can be a serious safety hazard. Old electrical systems can cause a fire, and old pipes can cause leaks or weak water pressure.

Hazardous Materials: The older a home is, the more likely it is to contain hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead. Lead is commonly found in paint applied before 1978 and in plumbing installed before 1985. Asbestos can be found in gas fireplaces, roofing, and insulation installed before 1980.

Outdated Heating and Cooling Systems: Older homes were likely designed for oil, coal or wood heating systems and later retrofitted with newer HVAC systems, so it’s important to understand when and how these upgrades were made. Even an updated heating system can be inefficient and unsafe if it hasn’t been maintained properly. Houses with cooling systems are likely to be a bit newer, but outdated cooling systems are known to have their own issues. Problems with older AC units may include improperly working fans, reduced efficiency, refrigerant leaks, and electrical problems.

Termites and Bugs: Depending on where s home is located, termites and other bugs could be a major issue. The National Pest Management Association claims that termites cause around $5 billion in property damage yearly. The older a home, the longer it’s been exposed to possible infestations.

So, do your due diligence and make informed decisions that you won’t regret. Have a great week.

Jill Santandrea, Broker Manager, EXIT Homestead Realty Professionals LLC, 1070 E Chestnut Ave, Vineland, NJ 08360; 856-692-EXIT; Cell: 856-362-0967; Direct: 888-856-5455; TheJillTeam.com; E-mail: TeamJill@ExitHomePros.com; Text JillS to 85377 for my mobile business card. Listen to Jill on 99.9FM SNJ Radio Today. Source: 2019 Buffini & Company