4 Hidden Problems to Watch for When Buying an Old Home


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A property auction is coming up. You’ve spotted a traditional home. Even though it is a fixer-upper with outdated décor and old-fashioned installations, you can look beyond these to see it has bags of potential. The bargain price tag also doesn’t hurt in swaying you into signing on the dotted line. 

Before you whip out your pen to do that, however, you need to understand that an old home can include various problems beneath the surface. Sure, replacing the tired wallpaper isn’t much fun. Yet it is much easier – and affordable – than getting a new roof. Problems like these can cause your new purchase to be a sinkhole for your finances. 

To stop this from being an issue, here are four hidden problems to watch for when buying an old home. 

1. Slab leak

For the uninitiated, a “slab leak” occurs under a home’s foundation. The water/sewer lines, which are situated underneath concrete slabs, can develop cracks. These cracks then lead to leaks, and this can cause everything from mold popping up to foundation damage. 

Unlike other problems on this list, a slab leak can be relatively inexpensive to fix – if it is detected early. This is when hiring a professional can help. For instance, Dial One is experienced in slab leak detection and can fix the issue before it becomes a bigger concern. As a result, slab leak shouldn’t be a reason on its own to stop you from buying a home. 

Foundation drainage systems are important. Poor drainage around home’s foundation can even threaten its structural integrity. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to make sure your home’s drainage system works properly and channeling water away from your foundation.

2. Leaky roof 

The foundation might not be an apparent place for a home to suffer a leak, but the roof is a different story. With just a few missing tiles, sagging gutters, or loose flashing, the roof can open the door to rain entering a house. 

While this is obvious, it might not be that easy to detect a leaky roof upon first inspection. Holes can be inconspicuous, and problems may not be visible externally. On the inside, telltale signs can be rotten timbers, water stains, and moisture in loft insulation. 

An entire roof replacement can cost thousands, so don’t overlook the damage of a leaky roof. 

3. Inefficient heating 

Nobody enjoys a cold home. Fortunately, there are various steps you can take to keep it warm without breaking the bank. This includes attic insulation and filling in air leaks. Yet even with these solutions, the house can still struggle to be warm if the heating system is well past its best. 

Replacing the heating system with one that’s more efficient and effective is not cheap. You will again be looking to spend thousands for this fix. 

4. Unsafe electrics 

An older home is always going to be more susceptible to electrical-related faults. These can understandably be dangerous, with them posing a serious fire hazard. To spot if the electrics are not up-to-date, check to see if it features a dated fuse box or plug sockets. 

Old and unsafe electrics could result in an expensive full rewire of the home, which will only add significantly to the cost of your initial purchase. 

It’s important that you check the basement too before buying an old home. If the basement smells like sewer, it could be due to multiple causes. The most common cause of sewer odor leaking in your basement will be from a large floor drain. This drain runs under the sewer line and can give off that horrible smell. If you have any concerns with finding the source of the issue, feel free to contact a professional plumber for an inspection.


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