Buying an old house can be the start of a wonderful new adventure, or it can be a total nightmare. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a property that isn’t worth the time or the money you need to put into it. Some buildings are only good for knocking down and starting again. One of your main issues, when you buy an older home, is how safe it is. It needs to be a safe place for your family, which means checking on a number of potentially hazardous problems. Here are some of the checks you should carry out – preferably before you buy.
Get the Structure Checked
The structure of a property is obviously one of the most important elements. You don’t want to buy a home that will quickly fall down around your ears. You need to ensure that the foundation is stable, the walls are strong, and the roof will protect you. A property inspection can check all of these things to ensure that everything is safe. It’s possible that some issues might come up, but you can work out whether it’s possible to fix them and what it would take. Don’t forget to consider the internal structure, such as staircases or load-bearing walls.
Conduct Environmental Testing
Old homes can have a number of problems related to having been built during a certain period. These can include the use of lead in certain forms (e.g. lead paint) or asbestos. Other environmental contaminants you might want to be concerned about are radon and mold.
If you want to make sure you pick up on any of these things, you can visit a site like h2pdx.com to research the possibility of environmental testing. You can test for a range of things so that you know if they’re present. All of these things can be dealt with, but they often require special procedures to do so.
Check the Electric
Poor electrics in an old home can be a fire hazard, and could lead to other problems too. You don’t want your first knowledge of bad wiring to be when your circuit keeps shorting out or even worse when someone gets hurt. Even if the electrical system was safe when it was installed, some parts of it can deteriorate.
Newer wiring can last around a century, but anything from before the mid-nineteenth century is likely to be starting to fall apart by now. Unless the electrics have been replaced recently, it’s worth checking to see what works and what doesn’t. A qualified electrician can fix any problems.
Check Gas Lines
If the property is powered by gas for heating or cooking, it’s worth checking to see if all gas appliances are safe. You might have a gas boiler or gas stove that need to be checked, along with the gas pipes themselves. In fact, it’s a good idea to have an inspection at least once a year to ensure everything is safe.
While you’re at it, carbon monoxide alarms are useful once you’ve bought a property. It’s important to have them if you have fuel-burning appliances, since you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide.
Beware of Pests
In infestation of any kind of pest is going to be an inconvenience, so it’s best to discover one before you purchase a property. Even if it comes up after, you can at least try to tackle it before you move in. There are signs of pests you can look for yourself, from noises to visual clues. Some infestations will be obvious without having to look too hard.
However, you could also hire a professional pest control expert to survey the house and spot any potential problems. Try a site like terminix.com. They can also suggest ways of preventing pests in the future.
Old Windows and Doors
Windows and doors in an older home could be unstable and not very secure. You could run the risk of window panes falling in or someone gaining access to the property without having to try too hard. You can often check on windows and doors by just looking. You can see if it looks like a window frame is rotting away or a door doesn’t shut and lock very securely.
While these issues can be fixed, they would be something to take care of as soon as possible when you buy a property. You might need to take temporary measures in the meantime, such as boarding up windows or adding a deadbolt to a door.
Before you buy a home, you need to know it’s safe. Take your time checking it to make sure.