What To Consider When Buying an Old House

Old houses have a lot to offer – charm, unique exterior designs and interior layouts, one-of-a-kind histories – but they can also have a lot of issues. Whether they have been updated to a modern standard or not, you still need to be aware of what you are actually buying.

Sometimes it is the small things that can quickly begin to add up, forcing you to make minor changes on a wide scale across the entire home. In other cases, though, there is just one big element that you have to deal with, especially if you want to turn that old house into a modern-day home.

Plumbing Issues

If there is one part of an old house that can decay or break quite easily, its the plumbing. A lot of older plumbing systems are going to be made with less-than-ideal parts, including some that might be made with actual lead piping – which has a chance of leaking lead into your water supply.

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However, on a more basic level, you are very likely to end up with a few plumbing problems that need fixing. The problem is, fixing that system will usually still leave you with a sub-standard system, meaning that you will have to make major changes to reach normal standards anyway.

Energy Problems

On top of plumbing, there is the fact that your home may not be properly set up for efficient energy use. Older lights, outdated mechanical equipment, and general flaws in the wiring can sometimes mean that an older house will run up a higher-than-normal electricity bill.

While replacing a lot of your electrical devices and lighting options can seem expensive, you will save a lot more on electricity. You also need to consider the fact that outdated electrical systems can sometimes risk sparking fires and may simply not be compatible with some modern devices.

It is not hard to throw parts of your old electrical system away. You can always use a dumpster rental, like one from the Eagle Dumpster Rental company, to quickly dispose of large items and appliances on your own terms.

Heating and Insulation

Heating an old home usually is not hard, although it might lack features like under-floor heating. The more important part of your heating concerns how well your home will retain that heat: a lot of houses are likely to have flaws like single-pane glass, drafts, or even windows that do not fully close.

All of this can contribute to much less efficient heating, as well as a far higher cost to actually heat your home in the first place. Older heating appliances are also likely to have their own faults, as well as inefficiencies that make them a lot less useful than their modern counterparts.

Dangerous Air

While it might sound like an exaggeration at first, there are many cases where an older house may have used materials that it probably should not have. While this depends on the age and design of the house, it is possible to encounter threats like carbon monoxide leaks in your own home.

Repairing these is not always as easy as it sounds, but there are a lot of easy ways to set up detectors so that you can find the source of the problem. It is a good idea to test your new home before you move in, just in case you happen to be at any risk while sleeping there overnight.

Harmful Materials

Air quality and safety is not the only health concern. A lot of older homes were created using materials like asbestos or lead-based paint, both of which can be seriously dangerous if you are not prepared for it. Often, professional removal is the only safe option for clearing it out completely.

Identifying the presence of materials like this will not always be easy to the untrained eye, but there are ways that you can test or check a home before moving in. Like the air contaminants, it is important to verify whether or not you are dealing with a threat before you spend the night there.

If you are getting rid of some of the materials yourself, then you should use a rented dumpster to hold all of it. This saves you from having to transport it in your own vehicle, avoiding any health risks in the process.


In some extreme cases, an older house may have obvious signs of deterioration. This could be something as small as a single wooden failing on the outside of the house or as large as a major section of the roof. Fixing these issues will depend on the exact nature of the problem.

If you notice anything that shows obvious signs of decay or damage, then it is often a good idea to try and approach the problem directly. Make sure that you handle any repairs as quickly as possible, and call in professionals if you are not sure how to proceed with fixing those dangers or faults.

Foundation Problems

There is an ever-present risk of an older home having serious foundation issues that can cost a lot to fix. If this happens, then you do not really have any alternative besides fixing them – even a small amount of foundation damage can get worse if left unchecked.

Foundation faults are one of the problems that require an expert overseeing since it can be almost impossible to judge the amount of damage on your own. The cause of the damage can also become a major concern if it is likely to keep happening, so you need to be prepared for that risk too.


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