Uncovering Problems in Older Homes 02 Oct 12

Uncovering Problems in Older Homes

Unlike many modern built houses that are constructed in mass and with the same specifications, older homes are unique, evoke character, and have history. This charm can cause many homeowners (or prospective homeowners) to overlook some major structural or maintenance problems that could easily lead to expensive and repeated repairs.

Of course, if you’re current living in an aged home (or have your eye on one), this doesn’t mean you are doomed to living in a “money pit.” In fact, if you inspect the property with a discerning eye and solve problems immediately (before they exacerbate), you can indeed live in your dream home.

Typical Problems to Look For

Although elderly homes can suffer from a whole range of problems, most of the major issues are caused by two things: water and electricity. Use the tips below to discover any troubles your home is hiding:

Water Damage

Water is the biggest cause of damage in all homes. It can rot wood, disturb foundations, and generally wreak havoc on a home. Some hints that water damage may exist are:

  • Missing shingles
  • Rooted/loose trim boards
  • Clogged/disconnected gutters and downspouts (major red flag!)
  • Grade around the house slopes inward (water flows towards house instead of away)

Electric Systems

In years past, people simply didn’t use as much electricity as we do today. While older electric systems used to run only a radio and a lamp, today they power light fixtures in every room, an assortment of appliances, TVs, and more. Needless to say, an antiquated electric system isn’t going to cut it — and is a major fire hazard.

Your electric system is likely outdated if it:

  • Is 40 years or older
  • Has a fuse box rated at 60 amps or less
  • Contains aluminum wiring
  • Has burn marks around outlets and switches

While it’s useful to scrutinize your own home, if you really want to uncover all potential problem areas, you should hire a professional home inspector. They know exactly what to look for and are more ruthless in their hunt, since they have no emotional attachment to the property.

Would you buy an older home, or do you think they are more trouble than they are worth? Share below.