Buying an older home: The risks and how to assess them

Key tips to remember

  • Know the building code compliance laws
  • Know what questions you should ask
  • Asses the risks
Maintenance and Repairs, Home Warranty

If you're looking for a home with character that has a warm, lived-in feeling, look for  a home that dates back a few decades.. When buying, it is important to note the risks to ensure you're getting your money’s worth. Here are a few essential things you’ll want to keep in mind:

Building code compliance laws are constantly updated for the safety of our homes and our families. And older homes may not be up-to-date with building code compliance, which can cost you more than you want to spend to update. Research the most common home repairs for houses built in the 20th century.

If you're worried you are biting off more than you can chew with an older home, ask yourself, and your realtor, these five questions:

  1. What condition is the roof in?
  2. How old is the electrical?
  3. How old is the plumbing?
  4. Have there been any past foundation problems?
  5. How is the house heated?

Older homes tend to have outdated materials in them. It is important to determine if the house is free of lead, mercury and asbestos prior to investing in the property.

That big, beautiful tree in the front yard might be endearing and provide shade over the lawn, however, old trees tend to present deep-rooted problems. Their roots can grow towards the foundation and plumbing systems underneath a home, potentially requiring expensive replacement work. Plus, removing the tree itself can add just as much of a headache. 

At the end of the day, if you fall in love with a house, you will work through the potential problems. And seeing that older homes are generally less expensive, you could end up with more money in your pocket to help with required maintenance. 

Luckily, we provide easy and affordable home protection plans to help with those types of things, and give you peace of mind, no matter how old your home is. 


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.