What to look for in older homes

by Alice Soon11 Dec 2017
Older homes often have a great deal of history and charm, but a buyer should not expect every system within an older home to be new or upgraded.

Here are a few things to look for and what to expect.

a) Different systems wear out at different rates -
  • Conventional furnace lasts 20 to 25 years
  • Galvanized steel plumbing last about 40 years
  • Asphalt shingle roof surface last 15 to 20 years
A house that has been cared for, settles into a ‘normal maintenance pattern’ after a number of years.

Normal maintenance costs about 1% of the value of the home per year.

For a $500,000 home, that’s $5,000 per year.

b) Key systems may wear out due to various causes.
  • Obsolete electrical system
    • Inadequate number of electrical circuits to meet modern demands
    • Old knob & tube wiring, as well as 60 amp service levels will likely no longer be covered by insurance
  • Heating system near end of life cycle / obsolete
    • Examples include: Old cast iron boilers & Old ‘octopus’ furnaces
  • Worn out / obsolete plumbing system
    • Galvanized steel pipes – Corrode from the inside out, causing damage, leaks, and eventually be non-functional
    • Lead water mains - Lead supply pipes were used for water mains up until about 1930. Many homes still have lead service lines. Lead line is characterized by – a large “bulb” of lead where it joins to galvanized steel or copper upstream of the shut-off valve.
Buyers of an older home should expect to see some ageing systems and some evidence of weathering.  They should be prepared to maintain the home, upgrade and replace systems as needed & budget for repairs.

As a real estate professional, it’s important to guide your client through all of these key areas before buying or selling an older home and ensure they are fully prepared for the next phase in their lives.

For more information, please the nationwide experts at www.pillartopost.com.

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