Buying an older home carries quite a lot of risk. And we’re not talking about ghosts.
Houses more than thirty of forty years old always have many things that need to be repaired and replaced. With their charm and classic looks are the effects of decades’ worth of wear and tear, which you have to be ready for. Thus, if you want to buy an old house, you have to know what might need to be replaced so that you can allot the costs in your budget:
1. Door jambs
Not a lot of homeowners consider replacing door jambs, whether metal or wooden. However, you have to consider the decades of use that they have endured. Over time, the house’s door jambs might have developed cracks (that can let in drafts), deformities, and rotting in the wood, as well as aesthetic issues.
Smoke detectors have a lifespan of ten years, while carbon monoxide detectors can last up to seven years. Check the back of the device to see the date of manufacture. If it’s higher than the specified lifespan, replace them immediately. Also, replace the batteries after you move in and then at least once every year from then on.
When you’re buying an old house, assume that you will have to replace at least one major household appliance due to age. Here are the major household appliances and their respective lifespans:
- Refrigerator – 15 years
- Washing machine – 8 to 12 years
- Dryer – 8 – 10 years
- Dishwasher – 8-10 years
- Air conditioner – 8 to 10 years
- Gas range – 15 to 17 years
- Electric range – 13 to 15 years
- Garbage disposal – 12 years
- Freezer – 10 to 20 years
- Water heater – 10 to 11 years
- Gas oven – 10 to 18 years
- Microwave oven – 9 to 10 years
However, keep in mind that appliances deteriorate faster with misuse and poor maintenance. Even if the ages of the devices are below their expected lifespans, you still have to check if they are still in good condition.
4. Bathroom fixtures
In most houses, bathroom fixtures are as old as the house itself, so if the house is more than 20 or 30 years old (without having undergone bathroom renovations), consider replacing the fixtures as well.
Here are the average lifespans of bathroom fixtures:
- Shower enclosure – 50 years
- Shower door – 20 years
- Toilet – 50 years
- Whirlpool tubs – 20 to 50 years
- Fiberglass tubs – 10 to 15 years
- Faucets – 15 to 20 years
Depending on the type of material used, newly installed roofs can last at least 15 to 20 years. Roofs made from slate, tile, and copper can last beyond 50 years, wood shake roofs for 30 years, fiber cement for 25 years, and asphalt for 20 years. Hence, if you buy a home that is more than 20 to 30 years old, you might have to replace the entire roof.
6. Things with lead or asbestos
Checking for lead and asbestos is standard for anyone buying a house built in the 70s and earlier. Lead and asbestos are harmful elements that can cause serious illness in humans upon prolonged exposure. To keep your family safe, call in professionals to check for the presence of lead or asbestos in the house. If they do find lead or asbestos, you have to call a trained contractor to remove the materials from the house safely.
Older houses, especially those built before the 1960s, might have lead pipes that can contaminate your water supply with lead. Otherwise, they might have pipes made from galvanized steel, which are prone to rust and corrosion.
If the house’s pipes are made from a suitable material, you still have to check for rust, leaks, and clogs that can pose bigger issues later.
8. Electrical wiring
Similar to bathroom fixtures, the wiring in old houses are usually the same age as the house itself. Over the years, wiring can deteriorate and cause lights to flicker, electrical outlets to spark, and bulbs to frequently burn out, among many other electrical issues. In addition to that, the risk of electrocution and fires is also increased with old wiring.
To ensure that the wiring in the house is up to code, have an electrician come over for an inspection. If the house has a fuse box, you might have to replace it with a circuit breaker box as well.
Old houses are charming, nostalgic, and maybe even cheaper than more modern homes. However, they also come with many potential issues that you have to address to ensure that the house is safe for you and your family.
What other parts of an old house usually need replacing? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.