October 1, 2021

November 16, 2021

8 Things to Look for if You’re Buying an Older House

Older homes come with their own unique characteristics and considerations. Keep reading for the details you need to check ahead of time.

Buying an older house means you’re almost inheriting the home’s history, its personality, its essence. You might also be inheriting some of its less appealing qualities that come with time and age. How can you avoid purchasing a home that ends up being a messy, expensive fixer-upper? Let’s talk about eight things you need to look for if you’re buying an older house.

Purchasing an Older Home? Watch Out for These 8 Things

1. A Shaky Foundation

In older houses, the foundation can be cracked, sunken, or leaning in one direction. That, in and of itself, might not seem like a huge deal. But then remember that the entire house rests on top of this.

A damaged foundation could present safety and livability issues for the home itself.

That’s not to say that a small crack here and there is a deal-breaker. However, you should have a qualified inspector review the property and tell you what you’re dealing with. If major problems aren’t addressed, it can lead to expensive repairs down the line.

2. Faulty Plumbing

When you’re buying an older house, it’s so crucial to check the plumbing because a small leak can eventually lead to a flooded home. Because we can’t see plumbing, we don’t always know right away when there’s a problem. So, opt to be proactive and not reactive, and have a plumber inspect the inner workings of the house before you move in. They’ll check for low water pressure, slow drainage, and potential leaks.

Not only should a qualified plumber check the pipes, faucets, toilets, showers, etc., but they’ll also ensure that none of the trees or other landscaping have grown into the plumbing system underground. 

Psst! Read our blog on plumbing tips for new homeowners.

3. The Condition of the Roof

Roofs are like plumbing: They’re not cheap to replace. Have a professional climb up there to inspect the shingles, because different types have their own drawbacks and lifespans. The quality of the installation also plays a role, as does the intense Las Vegas heat (which usually means that homes in this city need more maintenance, with how extreme the temperatures get).

If there are damaged or missing shingles, or any signs of leaking or moisture, a roofing expert will be able to give you the next best steps.

4. Old Electrical Installations

The tricky part here is that electrical systems these days advance so quickly. What was top-of-the-line 10 years ago might be completely outdated today. Plus, we use a lot more electricity today than we did even just five years ago. Your computer, HVAC system, washer, dryer, dishwasher, appliances — they all suck up a ton of energy.

Depending on how old the home is that you’re considering buying, the electricity may need to be updated. Check with a trusted electrician, because if you have the wrong outfitting, it can also impact your eligibility for homeowner’s insurance.

lightbulbs when buying an older house

And on a similar note...

5. Energy Efficiency

Is this an absolute must-have? Maybe not. Should you consider it anyway? Definitely.

Sometimes, a house’s old age is part of its charm. However, it might also mean that it can’t run in tip-top shape.

The vintage-looking windows might be nice… until you notice a draft coming through. Or perhaps you notice that it’s really hard to keep your house warm or cool. This is likely because the insulation needs to be repaired. Beyond that, you can also consider adding solar film to your windows to block out the sunlight and heat, and help keep the indoors at a more comfortable temperature.

What about the insulation? Does your home have it? If so, what kind of condition is it in?

This is largely about comfort, but it’s also about cost-efficiency. If it’s difficult to control the temperature of the house, that’s going to mean you’re spending a lot of extra money on utilities when really, you could just invest in solving the problem at its root.

6. Mold

Because Las Vegas is so dry, mold isn’t often something we need to worry about. However, if you’re looking at buying an older house — and if this home has poor ventilation and air circulation — then mold is something to be aware of.

In particular, look at areas that are more prone to dampness, like the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room/closet. Check the corners of all the ceilings and inside drawers and cabinets.

Mold can be dangerous for your health, especially if you have allergies.

7. Hazardous Building Materials

Thankfully, this isn’t nearly as much of an issue today. However, if you’re thinking of buying an older house, it’s something you shoulder consider.

Up until around 1980, lead was still a common ingredient in paint. Through the mid-1980s, it could be found in the plumbing. Through approximately the 1970s, asbestos could be found in gas fireplaces, roofing, wallboard, and insulation.

mom and son holding paintbrushes

Prolonged exposure to these materials can pose a serious risk to your health. If the house you’re looking at was built around any of these times, get the inside and outside inspected to see if these features have been updated and rebuilt with safer materials.

8. Insurance Costs

Whatever you decide to update (or not), bear in mind that this can affect how much your homeowner’s insurance will cost you. A lot of policies don’t offer coverage when the damage is caused by old or outdated systems.

This means that you might be required to perform these updates in order to be eligible, or, if something goes wrong, you’ll have to pay for the repairs out of pocket.

Should all of this deter you from buying an older house? No! Rather, look at these as important factors that you need to consider before you sign on the dotted line.

If you’re looking to make Vegas your home, contact the experts at The Brendan King Group today.