Sometimes it really is the case that they don’t make them like they used to…sometimes it’s not! When considering the possibility of buying an older home in East Austin it’s important to keep in mind issues that could affect the livability of the house as well as the resale value. A good inspector is essential so you can be in the know…I definitely do not recommend purchasing a home without a thorough home inspection first! Having said that, here are some issues to be aware of in older construction.
Watch out for asbestos in older siding, drywall mud, and mastic (glue) used for flooring applications. Asbestos has been banned in construction use today but persists in older homes. Asbestos containing material is generally not a hazard unless it is disturbed (ex. Removing old siding, drywall or flooring).
Damaged Asbestos Siding-Courtesy of Nachi.org
Also lead based paint can be an issue for homes that were built before 1978. Lead based paint is generally not a hazard unless it is ingested, so this can be problem with children, although most of this older paint is likely contained by the layers of lead free paint that have since covered it up.
Older home systems such as electrical, plumbing, and HVAC (air conditioning), can of course break down or fail as they age. It is important that these systems are checked by a qualified inspector so you can feel comfortable that they are in adequate shape and will last while you live in the home. Here are some tips:
Broken Cast Iron Piping-Courtesy of http://drain-experts.ca/
Click here for a good article that has info on typical life spans of the major mechanical systems.
Outdated Building Codes
What was built back then wasn't built with the same rules we have today! As knowledge has been obtained through the years, the construction codes have adapted as a result. It is important to see what is up to code in the home and what is not so a determination can be made on the safety and importance of updating these out-of-date methods. Some of these issues might not be a big deal at all, others can be potentially dangerous, like grounding issues, etc. A knowledgeable inspector will notice these code issues and report on what should be fixed.