Common Problems When Buying Older Homes
Did you know that the average age of owner-occupied houses in the US is 37 years? Yes that’s even higher than the nation’s median age! So while looking for a house in North Texas, you are likely to come across several older homes. What defines an old house? Is it just the year of construction or the architectural style that classifies a property as vintage or antique? A newly built house too can quickly appear old due to climatic conditions, which can interfere with the foundation of the structure, create cracks in walls, fade away the paint and so on.
Buying an old home does not have to be a bad deal, as long as you do not overlook major problems within the property. A vintage home may in fact offer greater returns when you decide to sell it, provided it is well-maintained. So you need not ignore buying old properties altogether, but you need to watch out for the following red flags:
Weak foundations on older homes
A common problem with old houses is that their foundation grows weak over time. The older the house, the more structural and foundation problems it will have. The climatic condition of the region also plays havoc on the condition of the house. North Texas has frequent hailstorms and tornadoes, which have a major impact on the buildings, especially old ones. Though not much can be done when nature gets aggressive, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to take care of the property and maintain it. If you overlook the issue, you may have to shell out a significant amount on fixing problems like cracks in the foundation wall, moisture damage and so on.
So take your time with the inspection process. Do not hesitate in getting it done, and make sure you ask questions and thoroughly understand everything the inspector finds.
Roofing problems can further lead to complications like water leakage and pest infestation. You may also have to compromise with insulation. Hire a roof inspector to learn about any trouble with the roofing of the house. Fixing problems like water damage, crumbling roof cement and so on can prove to be costly, and are not always completely covered by home insurance. If the damage is small and fixable like replacing broken shingles, you need not worry much, but repairing or replacing the whole roof could lead to huge costs depending on insurance coverage. So pay attention to the roofing of the house while inspecting the property.
Pest or termite infestation
You need to be careful about termite infestation if the property has wooden elements in its flooring or structural support. Older homes are likely to be exposed to termite damage. Look for signs like holes in drywall and any hollow sounds in floorboards, which indicate termite infestation, and make sure that a termite inspection is included in your home inspection. In case you have already purchased an old house with preexisting termite or pest infestation, extermination will offer you a long-term solution. Cosmetic fixes like damaged floorboard replacement are costly, so it is best to have them done by the seller before buying the house.
Old or outdated plumbing system
Ask the seller about the plumbing system of the house. Find out about the materials used in pipes and drains. Pipes made of polybutylene demand special attention, while those made from copper or brass last longer, for up to 50 years (even more in some cases). Regardless of the material, if you are looking at purchasing an older home you should be aware that everything will deteriorate over time.
Inefficient heating and cooling systems
A major problem with older homes is that they lack efficient cooling and heating systems. When checking the heating and cooling system, also look for any cracks in the fireplace or chimney. Heating and cooling systems should also be checked, and if outdated, you should consider if you’re willing to replace a heating or cooling unit once you move in. Dallas/Fort Worth will go through extreme temperature changes throughout the year, so you want to ensure that your system can handle temperature fluctuations.
Lack of modern, energy-efficient windows are a major downside of old homes, which also lead in high electricity bills. You can ask the seller to get them replaced with new ones before buying an old house. Bearing the cost yourself will turn out to be a major financial blow. Also look into the electrical system of the house, it should be both safe and simple to use.