Older homes have a certain sentimental charm that makes them attractive to prospective buyers with an eye for detail. But older homes are not always up to par with modern standards. Here’s a look at some common concerns in older homes.
Common Concerns In Older Homes
1. Foundation Issues
Foundation issues are common in older homes. They can be caused by normal settling or external factors like tree roots, seismic activity, or wet soil. Common signs include:
- Jammed windows
- Uneven floors
- Doors that won’t close
- Exterior and interior wall cracks
Getting a structural engineer to help assess the damage and develop a repair strategy is advisable.
2. Failing Roof
Roof longevity ultimately depends on materials, quality of installation, maintenance record, and the weather. Typical signs of roof issues include:
- Moisture or leaks in your top floor or attic
- Bowing gutters
- Missing shingles
3. Dangerous Building Materials
If the home was built before the 1970s, it might contain asbestos and lead-based paint. In the past, paint in residential homes was made up of up to 50 percent lead. Asbestos was also used as a fire-resistant insulator, but it has been linked to respiratory problems and lung cancer. Asbestos and lead paint need to be removed by professional hazardous material disposal services to make sure they are processed safely and completely.
4. Toxic Gases
Carbon monoxide and radon are both common concerns in older homes. They are tasteless, colorless, and odorless gases.
Radon gas is produced when uranium in the soil around the foundation breaks down naturally, and its long-term exposure can lead to lung cancer. If present, a professional is required for mitigation.
Carbon monoxide in an old home can result from a leak in the HVAC system, oven, dryer, or stove. Symptoms often include shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, and death.
Have any home you are considering buying tested for radon, and make sure there are working CO detectors.
5. Electrical Hazards
It is essential to keep your electrical systems to date. Circuit breakers need to be updated after 30 years, and service panels after 60 years. Ungrounded outlets should also be updated.
Common signs of electrical problems in older homes include:
- Warm outlets or light switches
- Dim or flickering lighting
- Burning or fish-like odors
Homes built before the 1970s may not come with Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection, which helps prevent ground faults, short circuits, and overloads. A certified inspector should be able to examine the electrical wiring and get a licensed electrician to help make any necessary updates.
Even if you find many of these common concerns in older homes during your inspection, everything is fixable. Make the necessary repairs and turn the house into a dream home.