There are many advantages of buying an older home if you can get the right deal on the right property. An old house can generally carry lower a price tag than brand new houses in the vicinity and being one of the first in the area, old houses can even be situated on the best plots. However, finding the right deal isn’t as easy as it sounds because if you are not extra careful, they can also come with a ton of problems. To help you avoid making such mistakes, here is a list of five things that you need to check before buying any old property.

Electrical Lines

A knob-and-tube electrical wiring system is not considered to be safe anymore but replacing them isn’t cheap by any means either. This is exactly why a lot of the older houses continue to use them. As the fire department warns against them and has marked them as a potential cause for starting house fires, you need to get the wiring checked by a professional. If the house is still using the old wiring, ask the electrician how much it would cost to get things upgraded and then negotiate a price with the seller accordingly.


Iron pipes get corroded over time and that’s why they are no longer being used in newer homes. A corroded pipe will eventually result in leaks and floods so you need to get the plumbing changed as well. The same rule as in the case of electrical wiring applies here; get a quote from a professional and negotiate the price with the owner with those expenses in mind.


Rotted window frames, stained/cracked glass panes, and windows that cannot be opened or closed all mean extra expenses for you, so check to see if everything is in order. As old houses usually have massive windows and high skylights, it might also be a good idea to buy a few appropriate actuators and automatic window openers for them from, provided the windows in the house don’t already have quality openers. Estimate the cost of repairs and add-ons, then see if you can get that amount discounted on the final asking price of the house.

Radiation and Other Hazards

Use of hazardous chemicals and materials were common before the 1980s due to ignorance, so it’s of the utmost importance that a buyer checks for the following extensively.

  • Get professional help for radon detection
  • Lead in paint and lead pipes is quite common
  • Asbestos in fireplaces, roofing, wallboard patching and many other places

If and when you find them, factor in the cost of getting it all removed before signing the contract.

Foundation Issues

If a house has foundation issues, it’s probably a good idea to leave it alone because the cost of repair would be very heavy. You will know that such problems are present if the doors and windows are extra squeaky and prone to getting jammed often. Other signs include dry rot, cracked walls, cracked tiles, and uneven sections on the floors.

As you can see, buying an old house could require more investment than may seem necessary at first. Hidden costs are a big disadvantage inherent to most of them and the only way to turn it into an advantage is by assessing the problems properly and figuring out if the deal is truly a good one.

House by pond mill image by ShutterStock.

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Home Reviews,

Last Update: Tuesday, 5th September 2017