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Buying an Old House Checklist

Posted on: May 28, 2020

Buying an old house is a great way to save some money and to purchase a larger home if you don’t have a large budget.

Buying an old house offers a lot of challenges and a lot of advantages. Today we’re looking at those and giving you a checklist, so you know what to look for when buying a house.

Let’s get started!

Location is Everything

Location is often at the heart of where potential homeowners decide to set up shop. For example, people choose homes based on how close it is to their job or their kids’ school. Or, it could be on a lovely lake, river. Perhaps it is close to a city, which they really like.

The location will also determine the value of the home. For example, a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home on the coast of Californian will be more expensive than that same home in Iowa. Decide where you’d like to live and then begin to buy look into the average home cost in that area.

Check the Roof

A roof is one of the most expensive things to replace in a home. And, it’s something that needs to be done every 15-20 years, depending on the type of roofing that’s installed. You can check the quality of the roof in a few easy steps. But the first thing you’ll want to know is when the last time that it was replaced was. Some people don’t pay attention to their roofs and, in turn, can wait too long to replace them. This will cause more damage to the home when the roof starts to rot and leak.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Curling, cracking, or peeling shingles.
  • Missing shingles – most often caused by storm damage. Look for large patches of missing shingles.
  • Missing granules – granules are the stone and composite material that wears off the shingles as they age.

If you’ve looked for these different signs and are still unsure of whether or not the roof has damage, you can always ask a home inspector to come out and check the property for you. Typically, if you are buying an older home, the roof will most likely need to be replaced.

Ensure the Home is Free of Any Toxins

Toxins in a home can really destroy a property’s value. Old homes can especially be prone to toxins. Things like lead paint, lead pumping, and asbestos are costly to remove from homes and dangerous to be around. You’ll need to test for these different substances or receive a certificate that says the home has been tested.

This is by far the greatest risk to your health in buying an old home, so it should be taken seriously.

Is the Home Everything You Want?

Asking yourself a question about whether or not the home is everything you want will help you to know whether or not you should consider remodeling in the future. Often older homes are remodeled or updated. This helps the home feel newer and will help you to increase the resell value if and when you decide to move again.

If you’re going to remodel the home, you should consider talking with a real estate agent and a structural engineer. They can help you understand what sort of upgrades you’ll be able to achieve with the current home and what might need to be changed.

Are You in Love with the House?

This might seem cliche at first, but loving the home, your living in no matter how big, small, old, or new, really does matter. Finding a home you love isn’t always that simple either. When looking to buy a house, you have to keep in mind some of the things we’ve already talked about. Is the location good, is the roof good, are there any toxic present, and does the house meet your needs and wants.


Here are the questions to ask when buying a house:

  • Is the location right for my family and me?
  • What is the condition of the roof?
  • What types of repairs need to be done?
  • Is the home free of toxins?
  • Is the home structural sound for a remodel?
  • Can I expect the home value to increase with renovations?
  • Do I love this house?

If you’ve purchased an older home or if you’re thinking about it, you might also consider looking into a construction company to help you with the repairs. At WISA, we’re able to repair and replace roofs as well as other parts of the home. Reach out to us with al of your old and new home projects. We’re here for you!

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