For prospective homeowners that don’t like the idea of moving into a cookie cutter tract home, even if it means getting brand new construction, older homes will likely hold a certain appeal. Not only do many older homes have the character that newer homes lack, thanks to architectural details, stylistic elements of the time, and often the inclusion of a lot of wooden surfaces, but they also tend to feature amenities like large yards and distance from neighbors (although this really depends on the area and the home in question). And there’s no denying that the builders who created structures that have been standing for decades clearly did something right. That said, older homes are, well, old, and that means that you’ll likely have to deal with some level of deterioration, unless previous homeowners have recently renovated or upgraded essential systems. Here are just a few common repairs that you should probably plan for when you purchase an older home.
- Electrical. Many older homes feature outdated electrical systems, and updating this essential system could be a major headache. Ideally, you’ll find an older structure that the previous owners have already updated in this regard, but don’t count on it. What makes this project so difficult is that once you get started, you’ll probably have to replace everything, and the reason is building codes. They change over time as newer, safer materials and practices come into play. And when you replace one element, you open the floodgates, and home inspectors will probably require you to finish the job. On the upside, you get a brand new electrical system designed to support modern usage and ensure the highest level of safety in your home.
- Plumbing. This is another common problem in older homes, and the issue is much the same as with the electrical system: practices and materials have improved since your system was installed. Luckily, you probably won’t have to replace every plumbing component in your home all at once when you’re dealing with a specific problem like a leak or you decide to reconfigure the layout of the kitchen. But it’s always best to prepare for the worst.
- Roofing. The state of the roof may depend on the age of your home and the type of roofing materials used. If, for example, you purchase a home that is 50 years old and features a shingle roof, chances are good that it’s been replaced at least once, and possibly twice. So you could end up with an older home that has a relatively new roof. But then again, the roof could be as old as the house and patched to within an inch of complete failure. For top notch service and quality, check out Lowcountry Roofing. And if that’s the case, you might need to look into getting a new roof.
- HVAC. Some older homes lack central heating and air systems that are par for the course with newer construction, relying instead on stoves and/or boilers and radiators and eschewing air conditioning altogether. And this doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem. You could always install ductless units and perhaps even save energy with humidifiers and ceiling fans. But like many modern homeowners, you may prefer the ease of use that a central air system provides, in which case you could be looking at installing a furnace, an AC unit, and ductwork.
- Hazardous materials. Any time you start busting through the walls of an older home you could discover hazardous materials like asbestos or lead paint. And you might not even know that you’re exposing yourself and your family to these harmful toxins. So it’s probably not a bad idea to consult with an experienced contractor to find out if you should call in a hazmat team to deal with such problems.