An older home can be a valuable investment. They have charm and personality a newer property may not have, but they also come with unique challenges. If you’re considering investing in an old house, be aware of the common concerns in older homes.

Common Concerns in Older Homes: Lead-Based Paint

Lead was used in paint until it was banned in 1978. If you’re considering purchasing an older home, test for the presence of lead-based paint. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers guidelines on how to get your property tested and what to do if you find lead in the property. If you have young children, lead paint is particularly concerning, so make your older home safe before moving in.

Wiring and Plumbing Issues

The wiring and plumbing in older homes often aren’t up to current construction standards. Before closing on the sale, have an experienced professional inspect the property so you understand the condition of the major systems. Electrical and plumbing repairs can be costly, so make sure your budget can handle the necessary updates to the home.


Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used in many older homes for insulation. It is also present in some building materials, including siding and flooring. Asbestos is dangerous if disturbed, contributing to some forms of cancer. Have the house inspected and tested for asbestos before moving in. If you find asbestos is present, talk to an experienced professional to learn about your options for making the property safer.

Foundation Issues

The foundation of an older home should be inspected thoroughly. Over time the foundation can be damaged by shifting soil, water, or nearby tree roots. Foundation problems are expensive to repair and, if left unchecked, lead to significant structural damage. The earlier you detect a problem with the foundation, the less costly and disruptive it will be to make repairs. Before purchasing an old house, hire a home inspector to assess the foundation and determine if repairs are needed.

Common Concerns in Older Homes: Roof Problems

Older homes are especially prone to roof problems because the materials used in their construction often aren’t as durable as those used today. Inspect the roof thoroughly for signs of damage or wear and tear before you move into the home. If you notice issues, have them repaired by a professional as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Talk to a roofing pro about the age and condition of the roof to determine if a replacement is necessary.

Investing in an older home can be a great decision, but it’s important to understand the property’s condition to accurately budget for updates and improvements. By being aware of common concerns in older homes, you’ll be better prepared to make repairs and ensure your property is safe for years.

Phoenix Property Inspections offers home inspection services in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties in California. Contact us to schedule an appointment.