Buying an old home may allow you to live in a stylish, affordable piece of history. Unfortunately, it can also can come with it a lot of issues that you may not be prepared for. What seems like a great deal could cost way more than you bargained for. Do you remember the movie The Money Pit with Tom Hanks? Don’t let it happen to you! There are things you need to be aware of. Check out our list below.

1. Asbestos

Asbestos makes an incredibly useful flame retardant, which is part of why it was so commonly used in older buildings. Unfortunately, when airborne, the barbed fibers can be inhaled and lodge in the lining of the lungs, eventually leading to cancer. The EPA finally banned the use of asbestos in building materials in 1989.

While a good home inspector can point out what looks to be asbestos but he can’t guarantee it until it’s tested. Typically insulation was used in insulation or on pipes and sometimes on flooring.

2. Lead paint

When lead is ingested by people, it can cause significant health problems, particularly in growing children. Homes built before 1978 could have lead paint, which is why property owners are required to disclose the possible existence of lead paint to renters or buyers. You can paint over the old paint, but the dangerous lead paint will still be there underneath.

Lead paint is something you should take very seriously when buying an old house. Do your research and due diligence when it comes to the lead paint law. Click here to review Connecticut’s Lead Paint Law.  Click here to review Rhode Island’s Lead Paint Law.

3. Problems found with the foundation & sills.

The foundation on older homes can be cracked, leaning, sunken or otherwise damaged and in need of repair. Everything in the house sits on the foundation, which is why foundation issues must be addressed for safety and to keep the home livable.

However, not all foundation problems are equal. A few settlement cracks may be normal and safe, but you need an inspector to tell you if the foundation is safe or not. Foundation repair can be expensive which is why you need a certified professional home inspector to tell you if the home you are buying is safe. 

One of the issues that is even more prevalent in older homes is damage to the sill plate. During the life of the home the sills in a home can become susceptible to water, insects and other external elements. The entire building rests on the sill plate which in turn sits on the foundation. Checking the sills carefully is something that should be done by a qualified inspector. Sill problems are not uncommon when buying an antique.

Be on the lookout for our next article as we continue to discuss what to look out for when buying an older home.

Anchor Home Inspections provides quality home inspections to Rhode Island and Connecticut. Contact us to schedule a home inspection or any of our other home inspection services.

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