Buying A Home From The Home Inspectors Perspective, Older Homes
Part 3 – Buying An Older Home, From A Home Inspectors Perspective
In the present economy and with fewer new homes being built, many people who are in the market for a new place to live are seeing a large number of older homes in well established neighborhoods. These homes offer many advantages over newly constructed homes and other forms of housing. Some of the advantages include; seeing the neighborhood condition over time, close to well established local businesses, they are in great locations and many more.
If you are considering an older home as your new residence, you will also want the expert advise of a Professional Home Inspector regarding the condition of the house, how well the property has been maintained and, how well upgrades and enhancements have kept up to date with today’s Texas Standards of Practice.
All Professional Home Inspectors are required to inspect every home compared to “perfect” standards, today’s local building codes and, today’s Texas Standards of Practice. As explained in Part 1 of this series, not even newly constructed homes live up to these standards in most cases. So, as one would expect, an older home is even less likely to live up to these high standards when inspected.
Although no home is perfect, Upon Further Inspection, a prospective buyer should not rule out older homes. Many home owners, even if the property is well maintained, do not do all of the upgrades and enhancements required to meet today’s tough standards. Below are a few defects often reported by inspectors in the standards you may see when considering an older home:
- All interior vents such as bathroom vents should vent to the exterior of the building. In the past, it was common practice to vent interior vents directly into the attic space.
- All kitchen counter tops (including islands) should have GFCI protected outlets. In past construction, only the electrical receptacles near the kitchen sink were GFCI protected.
- All closet and storage areas with incandescent light fixtures should have installed a protective cover and be at least 12″ away from combustibles. Incandescent bulbs were used often in closets and storage areas in past construction. (Easy solution – use low E compact florescent bulbs instead)
- Attic access hatches and stairs installed in the garage should be fire rated devices. Few builders follow this standard even in new construction.
The list goes on and on. The point is, that these are relatively inexpensive upgrades and, in the opinion of this inspector, although reported in a Professional Home Inspection Report, are not good reasons to back out of a contract nor should they stop you from considering the purchase of an older home. The older home may be in the right location, well maintained and, just right for you and your family.
Remember, the purpose of a Home Inspection is to identify deficiencies in a home when compared to “perfect” conditions and today’s Texas Standards of Practice. Just think, even if you purchase a new construction home, in a few years time, the standards will have evolved again making your new home, imperfect just like all the others.
When considering the difference between new construction, older homes and other forms of housing, remember that no home is perfect. And, when buying a home, there is much more to consider besides just the age.
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