Things To Check Before Buying A Historic Home

Posted on: 29 August 2020

When you buy a historic home, it is really important to do your due diligence. There is a difference between historic and simply old. You want a home that has been nicely preserved, not one that is going to give you headache after headache as various systems and materials keep failing. So how do you make sure you buy a nice historic home and not a money trap? Check these things out before you buy.

What are the pipes made from?

There are elements of a historic home you want to be preserved, but the plumbing is absolutely not one of them. Years ago, homes were plumbed with iron or galvanized steel pipes, both of which eventually rust, start leaking, and cause other problems. Make sure the home has new plumbing made from copper, PVC, or PEX — or make sure you have plenty of money in your budget to replace the old pipes before you move in.

Have the windows been replaced?

Take a very close look at the windows. In historic homes, owners often choose to replace the windows with new composite or windows that look historic, but are not. This is what you want to see. On the other hand, if the house still has old wooden windows, this is a problem. These windows tend to leak, they require a lot of maintenance, and they are terribly inefficient. Historic home owners can aim to preserve the look of their windows, but they really should use new materials to do so.

What kind of HVAC system does the home have?

Some older homes were fitted with electric baseboard heaters. If this is the only heating a historic home still has, then you may be best off walking away. These heaters are inefficient, and in some cases, unsafe. You really want to buy a historic home that has a boiler or forced air heating system, whether that system is original or was installed after the fact.

Does the house have a circuit breaker?

What you really want to know is if the electrical system is updated and safe. The easiest way to tell is to check whether the home has a circuit breaker or a fuse box. If there's still a fuse box, then that home has old (and likely unsafe) wiring. If there's a circuit breaker, then someone did some updates at some point.

If you check these things before buying, you'll be happier with the outcome when buying historic homes.