If you are in the market for a new home on a budget, an older house or buying a fixer-upper might be a good choice. But there are plenty of things to look for when buying an older home that might cause you problems.
While these might not be potential dealbreakers, they are certainly worth paying attention to when you think about making an offer on an older home.
Things to look for when buying an older home
Some older homes are not well insulated and so you may need to retrofit insulation after you have moved in. Remember if you are buying the property as a rental investment there are now minimum insulation standards for landlords to meet.
Plumbing and electrics
In older houses, these two areas may not be up to modern specifications. The electrical switchboard may need an upgrade as may some old wiring. You might also need to add more power points and AV points to accommodate your needs. A common plumbing problem in older houses is Dux Qest pipework. This was very popular but as it gets older is prone to degrading and then leaking. While an inspection will not look behind the walls at hidden pipework, non-invasive moisture testing and thermal imaging moisture testing can help show up any potential leaks.
Framework and roof
Many older homes are built with timber foundations, wooden window frames, weatherboarding and corrugated iron roofs. If they have been well maintained there may be no issues but they do have the potential for leaks, corrosion and poor paintwork. A weather tightness inspection will help to highlight any areas where the framework is not adequate.
Two more serious issues that may appear when you are buying an older home are asbestos and serious leaks in the cladding. This is often found in homes built in the 1990s and early 2000s which used monolithic cladding systems. Asbestos is common in much older homes from the 30s and 40s. If the materials are in good condition it is not necessarily an issue. But it may warrant further inspection, especially if you are planning renovations which may disturb the material.
A thorough building inspection will help highlight any issues
A pre-purchase inspection is part of the standard building report clause on any sale and purchase agreement and you should always organise an inspection before completing on a property. When you are buying an older home this is even more important.
You can do the inspection yourself, but it is better to get a professional house inspector to do it. An experienced inspector will know exactly what to look for and have the right tools for the job.
Innohome carries out pre-purchase inspections across Auckland and provides you with a detailed written report following the inspection. Inspections cover all areas of the property inside and out.