Buying an Old Home? Here Are the Dangers to Remember

Buying an Old Home? Here Are the Dangers to Remember

Homebuyers might be contemplating if they would buy a new or old house. Others will side with an older home because there is always an appeal to something that stood the test of time. It may be that you like the vintage aesthetic, or the history that comes with age, or the significantly lower cost of buying them.

You may have to considered how to renovate them, but before buying an older home, there are many other more important things that you have to consider concerning your safety once you move in. Here are some things that you have to look out for if you plan on buying an older home.

Foundation and Structure Damages

If you have a home that hasn’t been used for a while, you may have to check for structural problems. The foundation of older homes may have obtained damage from various things like the home settling, moisture seepage from wet soil outside, tree roots burrowing under, earthquake activity, etcetera. These will manifest as cracks on the walls, misaligned doors and windows, or a visible bowing of the home structure.  This kind of problem can be fixed but may be expensive.

Roof Damage

As the part of the home that is most exposed to the elements, the roof of older houses will almost always be in less than good condition. You have to check the roof for any visible damages like holes, missing shingles, deteriorated spots, sagging or leaking gutters and hidden damages like leaks that lead to leaks the inside. Also, check the flashing around chimneys.

Old HVAC System

Older homes may also have old heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that will require repairs or replacement. Older HVAC systems like radiators usually use more energy to run, giving you a larger bill in the long run. If you plan to replace them with newer ones that are more sustainable, you might have to invest in a ductless HVAC system due to older homes having thin walls that cannot support a duct system.

old house

Rusty or Leaky Plumbing

Immediately check for the plumbing. Over the years, leaky pipes will have created damage inside the house. Plumbing should be inspected for rusting and clogging that can result in leaks, putrid water, and weak flow. Pipes with this kind of damage must be replaced. Also, check the water source. Old homes, especially in rural areas, can have well pumps to be repaired or updated.

Old Electrical Wiring

Old and faulty electrical wirings are fire hazards that can threaten your safety. A licensed electrician must be hired to safely inspect an older home’s electrical wiring system.

Hazardous Materials and Gases

Homes that date back to the 1960s may still have harmful materials in their interiors. For one, asbestos, once thought to be safe, was used as insulation material for houses. But it was later discovered that exposure to the material could contribute to the development of lung diseases and cancer.

Old homes might also have lead-based paint on their walls and lead pipes that can cause poisoning. Radon, a harmful gas, can also build up inside old homes that are not equipped to prevent the gas from getting inside through the floorboards. Molds are also common, which can cause irritations and trigger respiratory illnesses.

No Insulation

Many old homes either don’t have insulation or have barely functional insulation built inside them, which will both leave you vulnerable to extreme temperatures from outside the house. Some homes have solid but thin walls that will not support the newer insulation processes. Have a professional check for insulation and give you your options if you need to have them installed in the roof, floors, and walls, and if you can take other less costly steps like insulating windows and doors by yourself.


If the house hasn’t been inhabited for a long time, the is a big possibility of pest infestations. Not only are they gross and are health hazards, but some can also destroy wooden home structures, weakening the integrity of the entire house. If an infestation is found, an exterminator specializing in the kind of pest in the home should be hired. Repairs and replacements for the damage done should come shortly after.

If you find any of these hazards in the old home that you plan to buy, but you have the resources to pay for the necessary repairs, then go for it. This old home can become an investment once you have it restored. You can also treat it as a big project to spend your time on. Once you finish the reconstruction, the house will be unique and have more character than newer homes. Just make sure to have everything properly checked and repaired to ensure people’s safety.

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