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Wetzel Insurance Agency Blog

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Potential Problems of Older Homes

A good majority of people enjoy older homes, and why not? They come with character and charm that just aren’t present when you buy a newer house. They just seem to have their own personality. Older homes also tend to be constructed in prime locations with lower price tags compared to the more modern homes. While purchasing an older home can be a great investment, there are some things that you need to look out for before you buy that could cause huge problems down the line.


Old or substandard electrical and plumbing. One issue that comes up a lot with older homes is that they tend to still have their original knob-and-tube wiring and cast-iron pipes since rewiring and updating plumbing is expensive and extensive. Both of these things cause safety risks like potential house fires or floods. Make sure that before you buy a home, you have the wiring and pipes evaluate to make sure they are up-to-date. If not, get a quote to see how much it would cost to replace these systems and if it would still be worth it to you to purchase this particular home.


Radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that generally poses no threat in nature. However, when it is trapped within a home, it becomes dangerous to those that inhabit the home. Many homes that were built pre-1970 are more susceptible to radon buildup than those post-1970. This makes it highly important to have a radon test done before purchasing an older home. Luckily, these tests are simple and inexpensive.


Hazardous materials. Older homes are more likely to contain things like lead and asbestos. Unfortunately, lead was commonly used in paint up until the 1970s and even within plumbing systems that were built before the mid-1980s. This can cause significant health issues if these problems aren’t addressed. Asbestos can also be a threat because it was used in gas fireplaces, insulation, roofing, and wallboard patching compounds until the 1970s. You need to be aware of these risks and investigate before signing on the dotted line.


Foundation or structural concerns. Over time, things tend to crack or become uneven, no matter how well they are built. It’s just how things are. The problem is that when stuff like this happens with homes it can cause corrosion, dry rot, moisture damage, and other risks that can come with some seriously costly repair jobs. Make sure to have an inspector check a home before you purchase it to make sure that none of these things are an issue.


Don’t buy a home just from looks alone. I know, I know. Sometimes it is love at first sight, but you need to be smart about an investment this big. Do your research beforehand by completing a professional home inspection. Beyond the standard inspection, you might even consider getting specialized inspections such as termite inspectors or a roof evaluation.