Tips for Buying an older (Historic Home)

Older homes have history and character. They often have architectural details we don’t see today, and building materials and techniques that are not used in modern construction. Homes don’t wear out, especially older ones. Their systems can be updated and their charm retained. With a quality home inspection, you can ensure that the systems are in working order before making a decision. So, if you are looking to buy an older home, congratulations! Let’s look at some things you can do to ensure a great experience in a mature home. Plans and Goals
As you look at old homes, think about how they will fit your lifestyle. Large kitchens and family rooms were not part of the mix in the good old days. Bedrooms and closets were smaller, and bathrooms were more function than form. Basement ceilings were lower than in new homes, and finished basements are more difficult to achieve. Lowering the basement floor is a big job!
Consider whether you are going to reuse the house layout as is, or whether you plan to make substantial changes to the interior. Those things will affect your approach to buying an older home.
Home Inspection
Home inspection is an important part of any home purchase, but is even more critical with an older home. Choose a reputable, well-established home inspection company with a strong history and lots of experience with older homes. Share your plans and goals for the home. Are you going to be leaving things as they are or making big changes?
Your home inspection will lay the groundwork for your approach. Does the house have good bones? Is the structure sound? Are there weak areas that need to be reinforced? Undersized framing, poor connections, and rot may all be factors in older homes. It will help you understand how the structure is put together if you are planning to change the room layout. Changing to an open concept layout, for example, requires good planning. If you are planning to eliminate walls, that means finding new places to run heating, plumbing, and electrical services to upper floors.

What about the heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems? In many homes, the systems have been updated, at least in part. It’s important to know how much work has been done in each of these areas, whether it was done properly, and what’s on the horizon.
Other Services You May Need
In addition to the home inspection, there are several things to consider. Many older homes are in city neighborhoods, often close to water. If the house is in an area prone to termites, a termite inspection and ongoing protection plan makes great sense.
A video scan of older sewer lines can provide good insight into how well the waste plumbing system will work. This becomes doubly important if there are mature trees on the property. Tree roots and sewer pipes don’t get along well.
If family members have asthma or other sensitivities to environmental issues, an indoor air quality, asbestos, and mold investigation should be considered. Water is the number one enemy of homes, and water problems may mean concealed mold.
Some older homes are still on a well or septic system. These can lead to significant costs and should be checked by a specialist.
For more information on home inspection services or to help you make your decision, call 901-833-6844 or visit