Old properties have a certain charm and character that you simply cannot find in a modern day property. Many people love the character features that come with a period property and would rush into the decision of buying an older house without taking into account some of the problems you might encounter with this type of building. In this article we will talk about everything you need to consider before making the big decision to purchase a period property.
The first thing you should ask yourself if you’re keen on buying and moving into an old house is, will you be able to manage all the repair and maintenance work? Due to their age period properties will always need a certain level of maintenance. Be it fixing broken floorboards, repainting the walls, replacing the glazing or carrying out big structural repairs such as replacing the roof, the to-do list on a period property seems to be endless.
Sometimes you find with older houses that they have been sitting unoccupied for a while, which can cause a lot of issues, from rodent or bat infestations or weird smells in the house to major problems with mould and moisture. Additionally, when a house hasn’t been occupied for ages drain and water systems might not be functioning properly. Some of those issues will still arise even with people living at the property, however, they will be at a much smaller scale.
Asbestos was really common in building materials until the late 1990s, so chances are, unless there have been massive structural changes to the house there might be asbestos lurking in your walls or roof. Before you buy an old property make sure you arrange a survey that will show if asbestos has been used. If the presence of asbestos is identified, you should always consult with a specialist before you carry out any work yourself.
Radon is a threat in any home, regardless of the age, however, new homes can be built with ventilation in mind to direct radon out of the living areas, whereas houses built before 1970 might not have the same level of ventilation. Luckily with modern construction materials, there are ways to go around a radon issue. If it’s identified that your house is in a high-radon area, you could consider installing a radon membrane or other type of barrier to prevent the gas from getting into your home.
Another common issue found in old houses is lead paint. Up until the 90s lead was added to paint to help speed up the drying process, improve durability and maintain the fresh appearance of the paintwork for longer. Lead paint is most commonly found on the windows and windowsills, doors, door frames and stair railings. Exposure to lead can lead to various health problems including high blood pressure, headaches and dizziness.
Blocked drains are not uncommon in old houses. Over time fat, chemicals and other substances can build up in the drain pipes causing blockages which can result in a plethora of other problems. When viewing a period property make sure you test the sinks and toilets and make sure they drain and flush properly.
One of the most common problems you will encounter in an old house is moisture in the walls, floors and ceilings, and all the other issues that arise from it. You should look out for leaking roofs, wet spots on the internal walls and in extreme cases mould. As long as you have the budget and are prepared to deal with it, however, this shouldn’t be a problem.