Things To Consider When Buying An Old House

older-houseFrom unique architecture and stunning finishes to the large windows and solid wooden floors, nothing compares to the appeal of an old house. However, when you’re on the market shopping for one, you mustn’t get carried away and start imagining how you’ll place those magnificent Victorian style pieces of furniture. Before you say we buy old houses, close quickly, and it’s a cash offer we recommend contacting a professional appraiser and confirm that your potential future home has everything in order, as otherwise, you’ll spend most of your savings getting it fixed.

Let’s summarize key aspects of an old house that need a careful examination.

1. The foundation of the structure
The very first aspect that you should verify consists of whether or not the flooring is crooked and the best way to perform this test is by dropping a standard marble on the ground. In case the marble quickly rolls away in one direction, that is a clear sign that the floor is not perfectly parallel to the ground, revealing probable foundation sinking problems and weakened joints. At the same time, the concrete foundation should be checked for cracks and fissures. While diagonal/vertical cracks don’t constitute a major predicament – particularly if the upper part has a larger width than the bottom – the straight ones mandate expensive repairs. Lastly, steer clear of foundations constructed on the old post and pier system, because their durability and earthquake protection are poor.

2. The drainage system
More often than not, older structures were not equipped with a foundation drain system. These fixtures have the role of redirecting rain and groundwater from the house, preventing humidity from protruding underneath the foundation. If the basement exhibits mould formations or overall dampness, then you might be dealing with this issue and constructing a drain will involve excavations, large machinery and a lot of labour.

buying-old-home3. The type of paint applied on the walls
You need to ensure that the walls of the house are not covered with lead-based paint because these products were withdrawn from the market more than 30 years ago after researchers discovered the negative impact of the substance on the physical and mental development of young children. And the biggest problem here is that you cannot just apply a different coat of paint without thoroughly removing the former lead-based one, a task that is tough and expensive.

4. Potential asbestos fixtures and components
Similar to lead paint, utilizing asbestos as the construction material has been outlawed about 30 years ago after it was discovered that inhaling particles could lead to severe respiratory conditions. Home components that might include asbestos comprise of:
shingles, insulation (for structures constructed between the 30s and 50s), vinyl floors and the adhesives, pipeline insulation, furnace insulation

5. Underground tanks utilized to store heating oil
Two very probable issues might occur if the heating combustible is stored in an underground tank, namely:

  • Corrosion leading to leakage, contaminating the soils in the proximity of your home
  • Corrosion causing the formation of a sinkhole
  • Even when you replace the house’s heating system with a more feasible solution, an unattended underground fuel tank will eventually form a sinkhole.
Dorothy Hernandez