Older Homes and Inspections

By: Cyndi Gerken

Let's start this article by making the assertion that any home that one would consider purchasing should be inspected regardless of age. Even new construction homes have some particular concerns that can be expensive to fix if not found early. However, this article is going to focus on some of the things that can be costly to fix in older homes. The process of a home inspection is simply there to protect the buyer. They are spending a lot of money on a home and want to be sure that they get what they are paying for and not being sold a problem that will be nasty and expensive to repair.

Electrical Systems - In today's high-technology world we use a lot of electricity. Appliances and electronics use far more energy that ever before and most older homes do not have electrical systems that are well set up to handle this load. The minimum load that most homes today require is around 100 amps and many older electrical systems are rated at 40 - 60 amps. Overloading an electrical system is a highly dangerous thing as it can very easily lead to shorts and fires.

Foundations - One of the bigger concerns with older homes is the condition of its foundation. Over time foundations can settle, or worse; crumble if they were improperly built or damaged. Settling foundations can cause floors to become uneven, doors to stick and can cause problems with walls and joists if left to be. At the first sign of floor depressions (usually the first sign of foundation trouble) have a professional look at the foundations to see if they are to blame.

Water - This is likely the cause of more home damage than any other single factor. Luckily it is fairly easy to detect, in some homes. Look for discoloration on ceilings, floors and walls. Sometimes water damage is accompanied by mold and the musty, mildew smell is hard to miss. Perhaps the most aggravating thing about water damage is that it can start anywhere. Leaky roofs, leaky pipes or leaky foundations, water can get everywhere in a home quite easily and once it gets where its not supposed to be; trouble follows.

Never buy a home without having it inspected. This goes doubly for older homes as there is the wear & tear factor to consider. Inspecting a home is a step towards the protection of your family and your investment so never skimp on the inspections.

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