Things Wear Out!

By Michael Fenner, Wednesday, 16 September 2015 - 8:21am

Older homes often have a great deal of history and charm, but a buyer should not expect every system within that home to be new or even up-to-date. Here are a few things to look for expect in an older home, from Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Different systems wear out at different rates

* A conventional furnace lasts 20 to 25 years

* Galvanized steel plumbing lasts about 40 years.

* An asphalt shingle roof surface last 15 to 20 years.

* A house that has been cared for settles into a ‘normal maintenance pattern’ after a number of years, with maintenance costs totaling about 1 percent of the value of the home per year. For a $250,000 home, that’s $2,500 per year.

Key systems may wear out due to various causes.

* Obsolete electrical system
             An inadequate number of electrical circuits will not meet modern demands.
             Old knob and tube wiring, as well as 60 amp service levels, will likely no longer be covered by insurance.

* Heating system near end of life cycle / obsolete
             Examples include: Old cast iron boilers or old ‘octopus’ furnaces.

Worn out / obsolete plumbing system
              Galvanized steel pipes corrode from the inside out, causing leaks, damage and eventually will become non-functional.
              Lead supply pipes were used for water mains up until about 1930, and many homes still have them. Lead line is characterized by – a large “bulb” of lead where it joins to galvanized steel or copper upstream of the shut-off valve.

Buyers of an older home should expect to see some aging systems and evidence of weathering. They should be prepared to maintain the home, upgrade and replace systems as needed and budget for repairs.

Real estate professionals need to be able to guide their clients through all of these key areas before they buy or sell an older home to ensure they are fully prepared for the next phase in their lives.

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