What to Look for When Buying an Older Home

Amanda Flitter

Historic homeIf you have been looking to buy, you may have found yourself pulled in by the unmistakable charm of older homes. Maybe you think you would love to be one of those people who refurbish an older house, put in sweat equity, and make it beautiful again.

You could be in for some hidden surprises if the home you buy has some years under its belt. There are things you need to look at, learn about and consider before you buy.

Without a doubt you should hire a licensed, professional home inspector to uncover any serious issues before you close on the sale and use qualified professionals if you need to do some fix-up work.

Here are some good questions to ask about an older home:

  • The condition of the roof should be on your checklist, even for moderately older homes. How old and what is the condition of the roof? What material is used?

  • Are the windows in good condition? If they are original (which if you like older homes you may want original finishings), are there modern storm windows to increase efficiency and for additional comfort? Do windows open and close as they should?

  • Are the walls made of original plaster or have they been replaced with sheet rock? What about the exterior walls – what are they made of? Is there insulation inside the walls? Are there cracks in the walls?

  • Is the attic insulated, and can you easily access it?

  • Do exterior doors have any large gaps around them when closed, and do they open and close as they should?

  • Do the main structural beams show signs of termite damage?

  • Are the floor joists in solid condition? If the home has a stone foundation, do the joist pockets look solid? (With older houses a notch in the stone foundation often is made to hold the joist, and it is a typical place for failure and repairs.)

  • Is the electrical panel new or as old as the house, and are there service tags to show it was installed by professionals? Are wires in plastic insulation, older two-wire in sheathing, or knob & tube? Is there a combination of these?

  • How old is the furnace and the water heater?

  • Is the sewer stack original, and is it made of old cast iron or new PVC?

  • Are the water lines copper (which is preferred), pex (still good), or galvanized (less desirable)? How is the water pressure?

  • Are outlets in each room grounded or ungrounded? Do the bathroom and kitchen have GFCI outlets?

  • Is there evidence of water damage, particularly around chimney runs or venting systems?

  • Do any of the floors seem to sag? How does the ceiling below it look?

  • Are the soffits (the roof overhang) showing signs of rotting wood? Are they vinyl/aluminum or wooden?

  • What is the condition of the gutters? Where does the water go?

The older home you buy may be a gem in need of a little polishing, but doing this will cost money. This is why it pays to ask these questions and have a professional evaluate the condition of the home before you buy it so you have a clear idea of what you must budget for repairs.

Check out these helpful House Hunting Tips to get you in the home that is right for you!

Previous PostNext Post




MLS Property Information Network. Inc. The Total Listing Service
Neren MLS New England Real Estate Network
Maine IDX
Equal Housing Opportunity

©2018 MLS Property Information Network, Inc; The information in this listing was gathered from third party resources including the seller and public records. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations or warranties as to the accuracy of this information. Northern New England Real Estate Network, Inc. All rights reserved. This information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. The data relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the IDX Program of NNEREN. Subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice. Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Listing data is derived in whole or in part from the Maine IDX and is for consumers' personal, non-commercial use only. Dimensions are approximate and not guaranteed. All data should be independently verified.

© 2018 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity. View our Privacy Policy

Website Powered by Real Estate Web Solutions

©2018 Real Estate Web Solutions, LLC. All rights reserved. realOMS Login | Switch Mobile Site | Browse Listings