An older home offers charm, beauty and, in some cases, has a better-quality structure. Most have walls of plaster and lathe, which is stronger than drywall. They’re also spacious, have more character, and tend to be cheaper. Many are also located in established neighborhoods.
However, over the years, these homes may develop issues that drastically affect their structural integrity and the safety and health of anyone occupying them. Carry out a thorough professional inspection paying critical attention to the foundation, electrical, plumbing, and roof systems. Here are five things to do before moving in.
Replace an Outdated Electrical System
Old wiring, dead outlets, flickering lights, warm switches, frequently tripping breakers, and arch faults are some of the problems common in older homes. A professional inspection will discover these issues but address them all before the move.
Failure to resolve the problems increases energy use, safety hazards, and inconveniences. For instance, arch faults make the current flow to an undesignated path. The result is energy loss, sparks, and even fires. Effective circuit breakers and house fuses will prevent the issue.
Before 1940, most homes had knob and tube wiring. This is no longer up to code. Replace with modern options that are safer and up to standard. Besides this, check if the electrical panel can handle your energy needs. You may have to upgrade the system and install more safety components, such as GFCIs.
Check for Foundation Issues
Foundation issues result from normal wear and tear, but some are due to seismic activity, damp soil, and tree roots. Destroyed support footings are expensive to repair. Key things to pay attention to are:
- Wall cracks
- Doors and windows that don’t close or open properly
- Uneven floors
- Drainage problems
- Persistent mildew growth
- Counters separating from walls
It’s best to inspect the foundation before signing the sales agreement. This way, you’ll know whether to buy as it is or negotiate newer terms. Get an independent structural engineer to assess the damage, then advise accordingly.
Inspect the Roof
Roofs, just like other property components, have a lifespan. Most last 25 to 50 years, but with proper care, clay tile roofs will serve you for over 100 years. Issues to look out for are missing and damaged shingles, leaks, cracked flashing, pest infestations, and ice damage.
Inspect the roof independently, then consult a professional to assess it extensively. Roof problems will lead to structural and foundation issues, poor ventilation, more energy use, and poor air quality. Going through the expert’s inspection report will enable you to decide whether to buy the property as it is or request a roof repair or replacement.
Check For Poor Air Quality
Radon, carbon monoxide, and VOCs are dangerous gasses to look out for in an older home. Check the ground around the foundation for the presence of Radon. It gradually seeps into your home, causing lung problems and cancer. Fireplaces, old appliances, and heaters will emit carbon monoxide.
Check all the appliances, clean the fireplace and furnace, and replace all faulty systems. Additionally, install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor. Besides this, ventilate the flue and use cooking exhaust fans. Improving the air quality is an ongoing task. Air purifiers, HVAC filters, thoroughly cleaning the space, and reducing emissions from stoves are also ways to enhance air quality.
Upgrade to Smart Home Technology
Advancements in technology have made homes more convenient, safe, and comfortable. They include smart lighting, remote-controlled security systems, energy-efficient appliances, and interconnected devices.
Technology enables you to monitor and control access and systems from anywhere worldwide. Most older homes don’t have these advancements; install these options depending on your needs and preferences.
An older home has the charm and character many modern buildings lack. However, it requires more attention to meet your needs and remain safe. The key is to conduct an inspection and decide whether it’s worth investing in. Work with experts and keep upgrading as your needs, preferences, and technology change.