What to Look for When Buying an Old House

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There are plenty of reasons to choose an old house when you’re shopping for a home. New homes cost more, for one, and the lower price tag that old houses bear is a very compelling reason to go that route. That being said, old houses usually need some love before they become the house of your dreams. Simple wear and tear take its toll on the roof, the HVAC system, the windows, and other areas. If you’re buying an old house for the first time you’ll want to be very careful to check out all the systems so that you have a clear picture of what you’re working with.

Which systems are the most crucial, though? Which are the ones that cost the most to fix? These are the questions you should be asking yourself before you go out to look at houses. For some insight into the most important systems to check, read on.

Always check the roof for leaks.


The roof over your head needs to be safe and secure—that part goes without saying. The impact of a leaky roof, though, goes beyond an unpleasant experience in a rainstorm. A roof that’s faulty can let moisture leak into other systems, compromising your foundations, rotting out structural beams, and generally causing the entire house to be dangerous to inhabit. Not to mention that the moisture can lead to the telltale bad smell that comes with mold. Mold spores have more than a bad odor—they can be dangerous for your and your family’s health. All this is to say that you should check the roof of an old house before buying.

Old roofs have simply been around for longer and have had to stand up to more weather. Don’t worry, though, since a roofing contractor, like the folks at Pro’s Choice Roofing, can take care of many roof-related problems for you if you find that you have a roof that’s in need of repair.

Don’t miss out on an inspection of the entire HVAC system.


The HVAC system is one that many homeowners overlook, but they really shouldn’t. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and it’s this system that ensures your comfort and the safety of the very air you breathe. An air conditioner that’s not working in the sweltering heat may have clogged ducts or vents that can mean that mold or mildew are making their way into your lungs. Ask yourself, do you notice strange smells coming from your air conditioner? A strange smell or unpleasant odor, like rotten eggs or a musty smell, may be the sign of a gas leak or a busted evaporator coil. Those sound dangerous, and they are, which is why it’s a good idea to have an HVAC technician with years of experience take a look at your home’s air conditioning and heating systems before buying an older home.

The foundations are, literally, the basis of your home’s viability.

If an older house has cracked or damaged foundations, there’s a good chance that you’re going to have to knock the whole thing down and build it from the ground up. That is to say, if the inspector you hire finds issues with the foundations, turn around and walk in the other direction. You’ll simply exhaust yourself trying to make the house viable when it isn’t, and you’ll spend a long time trying to fix something that is expensive and hard to fix. Always check the foundations for cracks and other issues (an inspector or contractor can check for you). Without a strong foundation, the old house simply won’t be able to stand up to the test of time, no matter how many shingles you switch out or how many mechanics or contractor visits you have.


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