Tag Archives: Buying

What to Inspect Before Buying an Older House

Homes have changed over the years along with the standard in which the homes are built. Some conditions change over the years because the level of knowledge has increases over the years as building science is studied. Some conditions are the result of past or current home owners that alter the condition or add items to the home. Here are some important areas to inspect or have inspected if you are buying an older home.

Attic and the roof system is an important system to inspect. The attic space and the roofing effect each other and if correct they will help extend the life of each other. Older homes may have less insulation than is recommended by modern standards. Having the proper amount will help the home owner reduce heating and cooling bills.

The amount of ventilation in the attic space is also important, too little ventilation can result in high attic temperatures which will age the shingles more rapidly. A lack of ventilation can also create a condition where moisture is trapped and condensation is formed. High moisture levels can aid in the growth of mold, reduce the effectiveness of insulation and create a conducive condition for wood destroying insects. Home owners will also improperly vent shower vents in to the attic space exaggerating the moisture issues.

Electrical systems should also be inspected. Older homes especially those built before the 1960’s have a chance of having two prong outlets instead of the modern three prong outlets. The size of the service can also be an issue. Amperage for older homes may not be enough when additions are added onto the home and electrical appliances are added to the home.

Energy efficiency has made great improvement over the years. Old gravity furnaces made still be operating (yes I have come across them) however, the gravity furnace is not an energy efficient appliance. The cost of replacing such a furnace will be well worth the expense as the energy savings will be more than enough to recoup the cost. Energy efficiency has also improved for other appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners. Although determining the efficiency of appliances is not in the scope of a normal home inspection you can be fairly certain that any appliance over 15 years old is not the tops when it comes to being energy efficient.

Other areas that will be looked at that are done during all home inspections include the grading and the gutters and downspouts. These areas can effect the foundations and moisture issues. These should be inspected during all home inspections, however with increased age they are more likely to be in need of repair or improvements.

Cesspool Inspection When Buying a House

People who look for new properties are concerned about the aesthetics of the house or the landscape, but only a few consider asking about the septic tank or cesspool. However, cesspool inspection is important when obtaining a property. Cesspool services are necessary in many cases. You have to learn the value of cesspools in homes.

A lot of home buyers are not too concerned about cesspools. Knowing whether the cesspool is in good condition and functional is important whenever you are about to buy a property. You have to ask your realtor about this, and he or she should be able to give you an answer. A realtor who does not know the condition of a property’s cesspool or septic system cannot be trusted.

The problem with cesspools is they are buried underneath the ground, so you cannot be sure if the one in a prospective property is in good condition. A specialist should be called to do an inspection. There are companies that offer cesspool services including inspection. Keep in mind that an inspection is just an inspection. The service specialist will not fix problems unless you specifically ask him to do so. You probably will not need cesspool repair unless you really are planning to move into the property. If a property you are looking into has damaged cesspool, you can consider a repair service. If not, you can look at another property.

Cesspool inspection is a dangerous task if you are untrained. This is why it has been stressed that only a trained professional should do the task. You may only do as far as removing the cover. The next step should be reserved for the trained professionals.

How would you know if it needs service? A faulty cesspool may leak and cause contents to pollute the surrounding soil. In this case, foul odor will diffuse from the ground into the air. If the area smells like rotten eggs, the pit must be damaged. Water leaking from the pit will also saturate the ground around it. Look for signs of sogginess. You would also know if the cesspool is draining properly if the leach field has green grass. If not, the drainage lines must be clogged.

Cesspools should be checked regularly for signs of clogging or leaks. Settling solid matter and scum may build up and block drainage pipes. Such event poses problems in the future, but this may be momentarily un-obvious. Ask the realtor if it has been checked in the past year. You don’t want to buy a property and then spend your bucks getting the troublesome pit serviced.

Supposing you have bought the property and then sometime in the future you encounter a problem with the cesspool, what would you do? In this case, you can contact a septic plumber or a cesspool cleaner to find out what the problem is and fix it. Cesspool and septic tank services may be available in your area. Be careful when checking out your cesspool on your own. The gas build-up is toxic and flammable, not to mention extremely sickening.