Five Major Things To Inspect When Buying an Older Home

There’s much to be said for moving to an old house. Old houses have character. Some are even historic and may have architectural details that are no longer seen in newer houses. But like older people, old houses have undergone a bit of wear and tear through the years, and a buyer would do well to look an old house over with care before he or she decides to buy. Here are five major things to inspect when buying an older home:


Newer homes have foundations built out of concrete, but a very old home might have one built out of stone. If there are any wooden elements in the foundation they should be at least six inches above the ground to guard against termites and dry rot. The foundation can have a few tiny cracks, but major gaps and crumbling are warning signs. A foundation should also not be wildly uneven.

Crawl Space

Most people don’t want to inspect even a tidy crawl space, and it’s easy to see why. A crawl space can be from eighteen to three feet high and sometimes the floor is bare ground. If this is the case, the crawl space should have at least four ventilators at each corner, and they should be open all year. A crawl space shouldn’t have wet spots and any wood should be sound. Vermin also tend to love crawl spaces, and they should be cleared out.


A dry basement is a boon, though most basements are more humid than the rest of the house. What there shouldn’t be are puddles. Water in the the corners of the basement could mean that the downspouts aren’t working the way they should. It could also mean that ground water is seeping up into the basement. This should make the prospective buyer think twice about buying the house. Stains that are the same level all around the basement walls probably mean that the basement floods and needs a sump pump.

Electricity, Heating and Plumbing

A person who buys an old home might want to have the electricity modernized, especially if the electrical system seems to be dodgy. This might mean that lights flicker or spark or there aren’t enough outlets for all the things that will need electrical power. Old houses sometimes have iron or even lead plumbing pipes that the buyer might want replaced. He or she can turn to a professional plumbing contractor like Bedell Plumbers for help. Also, the buyer should check for leaks, low water pressure or discolored or foul smelling water. He or she should also make sure that the heating system gives enough heat for the area.


A lot of old houses built before 1950 have lead based paint, which can be harmful if ingested. The prospective buyer should call the state department of health to see how the lead paint can be removed.


Making sure that these systems are in good repair before the buyer moves in can make his or her time in an old house a joy for years to come.

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