When you’re in the market for buying a house there’s a lot on your mind, how much you can afford, listing out your “must haves”, which neighborhood is best, etc. There’s pros and cons of buying a new house vs. old house, with age being one of the factors to consider. Oftentimes older homes have charm and character along with being more budget friendly, especially for first time home buyers. Naturally, there’s things you’ll want to make sure you look over when considering an older home. These items could not only affect how you negotiate the purchase, but also how it could affect your home insurance. It’s recommended to work with your realtor to get a home inspection to unveil any underlying risks before you buy.
What to look at when purchasing an older house
- Electrical – It is important to know when the electrical wiring has been updated to ensure it is up to code and to try and minimize the risk of fire hazards. Electrical systems, service panels, circuit breakers, and outlets should all be inspected. If the wiring needs to be replaced, hire a licensed electrician.
- Plumbing – It is important to know when the plumbing has been updated to prevent leaks and to minimize the freezing of pipes. Older plumbing pipes may be made of materials that are more subject to freezing versus newer materials that have more flexibility.
- Roof – It is important to know when the roof was last replaced and if possible, the life of the shingles. While different shingles have different lifespans, a few things to look for are missing shingles, soft spots, and moisture in the attic. Living in Wisconsin, inspecting the roof is highly important due to the types of weather we have such as snow, wind, hail, etc. There could be several weather events within a year that a roof withstands. Roofs can be settled at Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost or even excluded for wind/hail, depending on age and condition.
- Siding – Siding should also be taken into consideration due to the same reasons as the roof. Weather events can cause siding to crack, dent, or fall off. The age and condition can affect the type of replacement it qualifies for.
- Windows – Windows are another aspect to take the age into consideration. This could affect the energy efficiency of the home letting in cool drafts in the winter and warm heat in the summer. Feel for drafts around the window and look for condensation on the inside.
All these pieces of the home can affect the insurability of the home and whether it qualifies for Replacement Cost, Functional Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value. It’s important to know what your homeowners’ insurance covers. Talk with your local agent to learn more about what this means for you specifically and get a homeowners’ insurance quote for your home.