With so much new construction in homes nowadays, there is no shortage of models to choose from. And while many people have dreams of moving into a brand-new house and being that first owner, others like the idea of an older home that is filled with history and perhaps even unique architectural details that are reminiscent of a different time. Older homes can often have that sense of character that new builds don’t yet have, making them a really appealing option.
However, if you do plan to purchase an older home, there are some red flags you’ll want to watch for. These don’t have to be deal breakers; it just means it’s best to go into the purchase with open eyes and know what to expect once you take ownership. Here are some of the common issues you’ll want to watch for.
Foundation Issues and Failures
One of the biggest red flags to watch out for is any potential foundation issues or failures. Foundation problems can not only risk the integrity and safety of the home, they are also some of the most expensive repairs to take on.
As long as you are aware of potential issues, and the sale price is still reasonable taking into account the money you will need to put it into, this is a red flag that can still be manageable for the right buyer.
Does the House Have Lead Paint?
Another thing to be aware of is whether or not lead-based paint was used in the home. While lead paint is no longer used in homes today, that is thanks to a law that banned it in new construction in the United States back in 1978. If the home was built before that, there is a good chance it could contain lead paint. You’ll want to be sure you learn about lead safety, why lead paint is dangerous, and what you need to do should the home contain it.
The presence of lead paint doesn’t have to be a deal breaker; it just requires a certified lead-based renovator to inspect it, carry out a risk assessment, and figure out if and how it can be removed safely and properly.
A House That Hasn’t Been Updated or Maintained
If you walk through an older home that clearly hasn’t been updated in decades and hasn’t been well maintained, then you have to assume there will be lots to do. Houses require constant maintenance, so for a home to go years without any attention, you may end up uncovering a lot of issues.
Old Wiring Can Spell Disaster
Old wiring is another thing that is common in older homes. If the owner hasn't updated it, then the responsibility will be on your shoulders. Typical signs that the wiring is an issue include circuits that don't work properly, lights that flicker, and hot outlets.
A Small Look at the Potential Issues
This is just a small look at the potential issues that can arise when purchasing an older home. As long as you go into the deal informed and aware of what repairs and maintenance you’ll need to do, it can still be a great deal.