If you’re okay with what it looks like (some people actually prefer rustic places), buying an old house might turn out to be an excellent financial move. However, the problems with old homes aren’t in their aesthetics, but their age. Doing the market research as to the ballpark prices of rustic homes goes without saying, but this is far from enough. There are more than a couple of common issues to keep a lookout for…

Foundation and sills

The foundation is a home’s backbone and, while it can take a couple of settlement cracks, telling between minor issues and a potential disaster can be quite difficult. Sometimes, the foundation issues are fixable, while other times they are simply beyond repair.  As a rule of thumb, these type of repairs are either impossible or expensive.

On the other hand, a damaged sill plate is an even more prevalent issue in older homes. As time goes by, the sills in a home get increasingly susceptible to water, insects and a variety of other external elements. Why is the sill so important? Well, it’s something an entire structure sits on, which further sits on the foundation.

A qualified inspector will be able to carefully check the sills and the foundation for you.

old homes

Roofing issues

Faulty roofing can lead you into a world of trouble, especially with old houses. Unless tended to regularly and properly, a house’s roof will deteriorate over time, due to its exposure to outside conditions. The signs of a roof that needs repairing are fairly obvious. However, the fact that you don’t see missing shingles and moss doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Sometimes, the owners that are looking to sell an old house choose to save money by merely adding new shingles over the entire roof, in order to make it look healthy. A professional will be able to distinguish a solidly tended-to roof from a makeshift one.

old homes


Without a doubt, this is the most dangerous substance that can be found in a building. When airborne, the asbestos barbed fibers can lodge in the lining of the lungs if inhaled, and cause a deadly type of cancer. As soon as the word got out, the toxicity of this substance immediately led to the EPA banning it. Not until 1989, that is.

This means that older homes present a potential asbestos risk, even though many have already had it removed. Do a thorough research and carefully consider buying a home without asbestos completely removed, as the removal might set you back quite a bit.

old homes

Pro tip

Keep an eye on particular areas where asbestos can be somewhat common. For example, what appears like a dull linoleum flooring may, in fact, be asbestos! Companies like the one that specializes in asbestos removal in Sydney offer detailed risk assessment and sampling of materials that potentially contain this poisonous substance. Health always comes first!

Bad insulation

Home insulation has multiple uses. In addition to making sure that the cold/hot air stays inside (in accordance with your needs), it also provides a proper degree of sound insulation and keeps your bills in check. Older homes are sometimes completely non-insulated, and in order to stay comfortable during every season, your home needs floor, wall and ceiling insulation, which costs a ton of money to install. No matter how good-looking a house is, without proper insulation, it simply isn’t worth it.

old homes

Buying an old home can quickly go from an affordable option to a place that eats up money. Pay attention to the foundation and sills, roofing, potential asbestos issues and insulation when browsing homes, but regardless of everything, hiring an expert is always an investment well worth the price.