Older homes connect their owners with history, allow room for updates, have unique and custom features, and are often more affordable than a brand new property. However, these houses sometimes come with unpleasant surprises and issues that owners of newer homes won’t encounter. Here are a few of the common concerns in older homes.

Hazardous Materials are Common Concerns in Older Homes

While many materials used to build older homes are of higher quality than those used today, others are hazardous and banned as toxic substances.

Lead paint and asbestos are two common building materials used in residential construction that are now considered dangerous. Lead paint was banned in 1978, meaning any home built before this time may contain lead-based paint.

Asbestos-containing products were also restricted in the late 70s, and the EPA issued a ban on asbestos in 1989 to eventually phase it out of products entirely. Before moving into an older home, have it tested for these hazardous materials to ensure it’s safe for you and your family.

Roof Damage

Roof damage is undoubtedly among the most prevalent concerns in older homes. While the average roof lasts between 15 – 25 years, other factors such as routine maintenance, quality of installation, and local weather conditions will affect its longevity. If you’re moving into an older home, find out the last time the owner replaced the roof.

You may have to install new roofing if it’s nearing the end of its lifespan. If it’s not, look for signs of damage and perform repairs before moving into the house. A damaged or deteriorating roof can lead to water damage, structural issues, mold growth, and pest infestations in the home.

Foundation Problems

Another common concern in older homes is the foundation. The older the property is, the more time the foundation has had to settle or shift and cause damage to the house. There are several warning signs of foundation and structural damage, including sloping or uneven floors, cracks on the walls, doors that don’t close, and windows that don’t open properly.

If you notice any of these problems, have them repaired. Hire a professional home inspector to assess the home’s foundation and report on its condition.

Negligence is One of the Concerns in Older Homes

Lack of proper maintenance is an issue with any residence, but it is often most apparent in older homes. An older property may have been left unattended or used as a rental for an extended time, and the lack of upkeep leads to deterioration.

Make sure the place you’re moving into is in good condition and well-cared-for. Look for signs of neglect, including cracked paint, broken appliances, a sagging roof, stained tiles, and rusting fixtures.

If you want to live in an older home, be prepared to stay on top of maintenance. You can repair all the above issues and replace components to meet your standards. The determining factor will be how much time and money you are willing to invest into a property to make it safe and functional for your family.

Before purchasing an older home, hire a home inspector to assess the property. They will write a report detailing problems and concerns with the house. You’ll better understand your investment so you can make an informed decision regarding the purchase.

Old House Home Inspectors offers inspections for older homes and historic properties in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Contact us to request our services.