Older Isn’t Always Better: Common Issues With Older Homes

When we end up buying a property that has a lot of character, while it’s stylish and evokes a lot of history, there can be a few issues that you may not be ready for. When you buy a house for a great price there are points of concern that you need to consider. Here are some common ones associated with older homes and buildings.

older homes

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Water Issues

Whether in a commercial setting or a residential property, if you buy or lease an older building, it’s likely that it will have an old-style water source. This could mean potential problems with the roof as well. If you recognize missing shingles or moss, this could result in leaks coming into the building. What’s more, you may not even notice there are leaks until it is too late. And while there are electronic leak detection services that you can undertake, the best plan of action is to undertake a lengthy inspection at the outset.

Electrical Problems

Old homes were not built to keep up with modern electronic usage. These days, we use so many different devices in comparison to 50 years ago. If you are leasing a building for the purposes of work, you need to make sure that the building suits your needs. There are numerous problems that you need to address in an older home. If an older home has knob and tube wiring, which was widespread up until the 1930s, it is important to address this right away. There are certain insurers that won’t cover knob and tube wiring and there are many lenders that won’t give you a mortgage. This is why it’s important to speak to these companies upfront.

Roofing Issues

Over time, the roof on an older property will begin to fail. Tiles shift and the risk of leaks increases. It’s also less likely to be able to withstand bad weather. If your roof is damaged by the weather then you’re going to need a roofing company that can deal with roof insurance claims after the event in order to get your building watertight again. 

Lead Paint

Properties built before 1978 will likely have lead paint in its materials. It’s a legal requirement for property owners to disclose the existence of lead paint to people renting or buying a property. While it is possible to paint over lead paint, but as the lead would still be intact, you may want to think twice about purchasing a property with this material. If you have children under the age of 6, it is a legal requirement to remove the lead.


An incredibly toxic material, asbestos was widespread in the foundations of many buildings. While the EPA finally banned asbestos in building materials in 1989, depending on where you are in the country, your home may very well have asbestos. While many older homes have had the asbestos removed, having an asbestos specialist to check the property and remove it safely should be a priority. It can cause a wide variety of lung problems, as well as cancer.

Mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, cannot be taken lightly by either its residents or landlords. Failure to deal with asbestos properly could have serious ramifications including legal fines for not taking appropriate safety measures and is potentially lethal. Landlords must take note that any asbestos found on their properties – even before purchasing it – falls under their legal responsibility; so make sure your tenants get regular asbestos tests performed.

Older isn’t always better. And yes, while older homes have a significant amount of character when it comes to the safety of you and those that are dwelling in the property, you’ve got to guarantee you do the work upfront. Older properties, whether you are renting it for work purposes or are planning to buy it as a home, require a significant amount of work upfront.



  1. Since working in the restoration industry, my eyes have been opened to some of the perils of having tenants that aren’t often talked about. Mould, for example. If you have tenants that only run the aircon and leave everything locked up all the time, 8/10 times you will find yourself with a serious issue. We have dealt with some real horror stories of people who just didn’t know what to look out for. Make sure you’re tenants are aware of the risks too.

    Old houses are of particular concern because one leak in those conditions can be game over. We’re talking literal forests…

  2. If your home is old, your circuit breaker panel might also need a replacement! If your home has had any electrical upgrades (even before you bought it), but your circuit breaker panel has yet to, chances are it’s time for a change.

    Fire Guard circuit breakers are better from the point of view of safety. A standard circuit breaker trips when it gets too warm. A Fire Guard breaker’s job is to shut the entire circuit down as soon as it detects bad arcing that can cause electrical fires so that it can prevent danger before it can occur. Amazingly, Fire Guard breakers prevent 99% of electrical fires on protected circuits.

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