Older homes exude character. Not only do their walls tell a history, but often the character, details and warmth inside of one of these homes is unmatched in today’s quickly built society. Instead of taking months to build a single home by hand, entire neighborhoods can now be constructed in less time. If you’re considering purchasing an older home, there are many things to consider during the search as well as when you’re ready to buy.
Updating a home’s electrical system to a more modern electrical panel, grounded switches and updated in-wall wiring can be very expensive. According to Angie’s List, expect to pay anywhere between $8,000-15,000 for an average sized home. Additionally, you may require an upgraded service to the home which can add additional cost. Because you need to get into the walls, this also means repairing all the walls in the home that had to be cut out so you could run the new wiring and disconnect the old.
Older homes typically will have some form of older plumbing still in place even if the majority of the system was replaced. The most common ones are the sewer line, water supply line and, depending on when the system was updated, could even be out of date again. For instance, if galvanized pipes were replaced by Polybutylene piping in the 70’s, this would also need to be replaced.
Depending on the home, it is possible the home doesn’t even have a foundation. Some older homes were built on post and pier meaning they don’t have a concrete foundation they sit on. This can make insuring a home more difficult. The simplest way to check for any foundation problems is to just walk the home. Do the floors feel crooked? Are doors difficult to close? Are there cracks in the walls? These are all signs that the home may have foundation issues.
Throughout the life of any home, a leak will develop. Whether around a window, the foundation or the roof leaks occur. If a length of time goes when that leak is not detected the water can get into walls and stay wet for years. This can cause dry rot. Detecting dry rot can be difficult. Your best indicator may be your nose. Does it smell musty?
Mold goes hand in hand with dry rot. If water enters the home and things remain wet, mold can form. Again, use your nose and see if you can detect any musty odors.
Asbestos was a commonly used product in building materials in from the 1930s-1950s. It was used on everything from siding to ceiling and wall plaster materials to duct tape. While buying a home that contains asbestos isn’t necessarily bad as long as the product is not disturbed, it can cause a huge challenge and added cost if you plan to remodel. Do your research.
Older homes built prior to 1978 have a high likelihood of containing lead based paint. While most have likely been painted over by now, it is important to understand that these paints can be dangerous if you plan to remodel or disturb them.
Generally speaking, it is possible that it will cost more to insure an older home. The only way to determine pricing on an individual home would be to get a quote on the specific address. You may find that it is less than insuring a newer home, so do your homework and work with an independent agent who can find you a great rate on your home insurance.
While older homes come with their challenges, it is usually impossible to recreate the charm, character and history these homes have. While you enjoy being a caretaker of this property we can help you protect it with a great home insurance policy.