There are many reasons why someone may want to buy an older home. Some people love particular eras and want a house with a specific architecture. In other cases, you might come across deals that are too good to be true, or the market you were aiming for has nothing but older homes. Either way, you can’t buy an old home like you would any other. You have to make sure that you know what comes with older homes and the potential challenges you’ll have to face. Let’s take a look at a few things you should know before buying an older home.
They May Contain Lead
Older homes with older paint and plumbing are more likely to have lead in them. Any house that was built before 1978 has a high chance of having been painted using lead paint. This is why you should never waive a lead paint inspection, even on a newer home.
The consequences of waiving a lead inspection are plenty. You could put your health and the health of children living in the house in danger. Lead is particularly harmful to children and can stunt their mental development. It would also be a good idea to get an inspection before buying so you can know the scope of a potential abatement job. If you do this before the sale, you could have the seller foot the bill.
Additions and Conversion Will Be More Complex
You cannot expect to make renovations on an older home as easily as you would on a modern one. There might be structural issues that stop you from doing certain things. Additions and conversions are two examples.For instance, if you were thinking of transforming an attic into a living space, there might be many things that you have to do. If you currently get up there using a ladder or drop-downstairs, you will need to add permanent stairs. Some attics will also not have the structure needed to be converted into a room. Maybe there’s not enough ceiling clearance. There are also safety requirements like having an emergency exit you’ll have to meet.
Another issue is ventilation. Older homes were not built for the complex systems and ductwork of today. Some may also have airtightness issues that will make certain options not viable,so that’s another thing that will have to be considered.
Finding Materials Can Be Tough
Another thing you have to keep in mind is that older homes were made using older materials. If a few shingles fly off the roof, you might have to think about having the whole thing replaced if you want it to match. You should know that older materials aren’t necessarily a bad thing, however. Things like veneers were less common in the past, so if you see exposed brick or stones, chances are they’re real. Older homes were built to last, and you won’t see too many hand-scraped wooden ceiling beams or dove-tailed wooden joints today, so that’s a pro and a con.
As you can see, there are tons of things that you need to keep in mind when buying an older property. Make sure that you have it thoroughly inspected first, and know what to expect.