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Buying an Old Home? Read This First!

Buying an Old House - Bittinger Team, REALTORS

There’s something about old homes that just makes some home buyers swoon. The character and personality found in some of these homes just can’t be duplicated in more modern builds. From old fireplaces to original hardwood floors and molding, we can’t deny the charm of old homes.

It also stands to reason that buying an older house generally costs less than a new build. While this leaves lots of potential for enthusiastic DIY’ers, you’ll want to make sure you’re not getting in over your head with costly projects and repairs.


5 Thing to Look out for When Buying an Old House

If you aren’t presented with one, ask about a seller’s disclosure in advance. The seller’s disclosure, or property disclosure statement, are flaws documented by the sellers that affect the home’s value. Here are some additional things to ask about and look out for when looking at older homes.


  • Hazardous Materials: A big concern in older homes is lead and asbestos. Both of these materials are toxic and potentially very harmful. Paints made before 1978 contained lead, as well as pre-World War II piping systems. Asbestos is a material found to cause serious forms of lung cancer. It was commonly used in insulation and tile flooring. Asbestos and lead can be detected with a simple test. Depending on the location, it’s imperative to have a professional company remove the contaminated materials.


  • Structural Issues: Structural issues are difficult and costly to repair. Look out for major cracks in the foundation, dry rot or water damage. Homes in areas with seismic activity or areas prone to floods must be inspected well.


  • Mold Damage: In areas with wet climates or those exposed to excessive moisture, mold and mildew may develop. These nasty, harmful fungi and bacteria can permeate a home’s walls and be especially harmful to children and the elderly. A mold remediation specialist should be contacted to assess the situation and remove dangerous spores.


  • Plumbing Issues: Water can cause incredible damage. In old homes, you need to thoroughly inspect plumbing and foundation to make sure leaks and flooding have not taken place. Things like galvanized piping, Polybutylene piping, lead service lines, and faulty gas lines are just some of the other potential plumbing issues to look out for.


  • Failing Appliances: Old homes have old mechanical equipment. This may include furnaces, water heaters, air conditioning (if present), and outdated appliances for cooking and washing. Older appliances mean failure is imminent. If possible, set aside money for updating your appliances, too.


Issues like those outlined above are not only common, they should be expected in old homes. We always recommend our buyers have a thorough inspection done by an experienced professional. If you’re buying an older home, you might want to go a step further and have a plumber and electrician visit the home as well.


The Bottom Line

All this isn’t to say buying an old home isn’t a good idea. It all comes down to personal preference. Whether you’re into mid-century split levels or a colonial revival, old homes offer so much more than a good deal. Good bones, developed neighborhoods, and loads of character are all desirable characteristics in a home. is provided by Bittinger Team, REALTORS – experts at Southeast, MI real estate. Are you ready to learn more about what we can do for you? Contact us today.


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