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What to Watch Out for When Buying an Older Home

December 13, 2016

There are a lot of old houses in the United States, including in Ohio.  The average age of homes in the US, as of December 2016, is 37.  In many areas of Ohio, that age is even older, with some areas, like Portage, having homes averaging 74 years of age.  Old homes often offer a lot of unique charm that can’t be found in the houses built today.  But, if you are looking to purchase an older home, there are a few issues that you should be on the lookout for.

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Lead and Asbestos

Both lead and asbestos were commonly used in older homes.  Lead is a toxic metal, harmful particularly to young children, that was used in paint prior to the 1980s.  It was even found in plumbing in homes from the 1940s and in water pipes before the 80s.  Asbestos was used prior to the 1970s as an insulation material, and could be found in crawlspaces and walls.  If homes were not renovated after these materials were prohibited from use, you could be walking into a potential problem.  Lake, Astabula, Summit, Cuyahoga and Portage all have homes averaging in this age range, so it is important to make sure that your home inspector be able to check for these issues.  If they have not been addressed and updated, you will need to have them taken care of.

Mold/Mildew

If a home is particularly exposed to a lot of moisture, which it can be when in close proximity to a body of water, it runs the risk of developing mold and mildew.  While this is typically a problem most often found in basements, it can grow anywhere.  Older homes are usually in more danger of developing this issue (which can aggravate allergies and other health related issues) because of cracks in the foundation or faulty pipes.  Small mold issues can usually be managed with professional mold restoration services, but a huge infestation can make the home unlivable.

Foundational Issues

Over time, the ground can shift under old homes, no matter how solidly they are built.  Cracks, unevenness, dry rot and moisture damage are all common foundation issues.  These issues can be solved, though they are often costly.  Be on the lookout for uneven doors that don’t close properly, difficult windows, large cracks in the wall, cracked tiles and uneven floors.

Inefficient Windows

Older homes typically have inefficient windows.  This wasn’t a problem years ago, when energy was less expensive.  But now, the prices have gone up, and why would you want to waste precious energy anyway?  That’s kind of like just throwing money out the window.  Installing the latest ENERGY STAR windows can save you up to almost $500 a year on your electric bill.

If buying an older home in the Cleveland or the surrounding area is something that appeals to you, then go for it!  There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t.  Just remember there are some things that you need to be on the lookout for.  Keystone Home Inspection services the Lake, Astabula, Portage, Summit, Medina, Geagua and Cuyahoga areas, all of which have homes, on average, much older than the US average.  And our inspectors know what to look out for, and can help you to find the home of your dreams that won’t cost you a fortune to fix.

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