3 Things to Look Out for When Buying Older Homes

Dreaming of a 60’s bungalow in Sunnybrook? Or perhaps, a 90’s 2 storey in Anders? Or maybe you’d just love a 4-level split from the 70’s in the Pines backing onto the trees? Well, they are all excellent choices but…!!! If you are a first-time home buyer there may be some things you want to consider before writing an offer. Your Realtor should be experienced & educated on these three key things to look for! A home inspection will also really help to educate you however, you may want to consider these things before spending $500 & up on an inspection. Knowledge is best. Ask your Realtor about…

1. Plumbing & Sewer

In mature areas, it is ALWAYS a great idea to get the sewer lines scoped with a camera, if they are original. Those big, beautiful trees are certainly a treat, but they can be quite intrusive! Depending on the type of sewer lines, age, etc. you may have tree roots that grow into the lines. Last thing you want when moving into your new home is a sewer back up! Yuck! Also, consider having a back flow prevention valve installed! Newer homes it is code, but older homes typically don’t have them. It will help lower insurance premiums too! Another thing to consider is the plumbing lines in the house. For example, that dreamy 90’s 2 Storey home in Anders for sale that you may be eyeing up likely has “poly-b” plumbing. Poly-b plumbing was commonly used in the 90’s and has class action lawsuits because there were many reports of leaking. Insurance companies don’t like it which means higher premiums. So definitely a good idea to look out for those & if the home does have it, get a quote! I had poly-b in one of my homes and the cost to replace it (at the time) wasn’t as bad as I thought! Although, it can be a hefty cost when you are buying a home! Prepared is best.

2. Electrical

Aluminum wiring, older panels (with no more room to add on), federal pioneers… the fun stuff. Electrical is always an important & integral part of a home (in my opinion). For safety reasons but also, not so fun when you want to do a reno or develop the basement but… breakers are super expensive or hard to find because you have a F.P panel (hello 90’s homes, I’m talking to you again haha!) I always recommend looking at these things at the time of a showing so you know what things will come up in your home inspection. Perhaps, get an electrician to have a look as well if you do have any concerns. Sometimes insurance companies REQUIRE an electrical inspection especially when there’s aluminum wiring or aluminum parts involved. Most insurers will want to see aluminum wiring totally replaced. I have seen buyers with aluminum wiring be asked to have their wiring replaced within 30 days or immediately in many instances (before insurability). It can be costly so best to be prepared. If you have a mortgage, you can’t opt out of having insurance, therefore you can’t opt out of making the home insurable. Again, knowledge is best! What you know ahead of time will save you a lot of heartache and perhaps- money!

3. Asbestos

Planning to renovate that 60’s bungalow in Sunnybrook? Look out for the “A” word… asbestos! Asbestos was used in many construction materials between the 40’s – 70’s. It can be found in drywall, tile, paint but most commonly in the insulation of these homes. Remediating a home with asbestos can be challenging. If you don’t plan to renovate, asbestos undisturbed won’t cause harm, experts say, but it’s when it is disturbed, major health risks occur. Therefore, when renovating, you must have it completely remediated which is a costly project. You can’t really “see” asbestos, so you will have to have a sample of different materials, and have it sampled at a lab which can take time for results to come back (sometimes several weeks). This makes it difficult when house shopping but having the right realtor, inspector & asbestos expert will help guide you. If you do plan to renovate, I will highly recommend speaking with an asbestos removal company for a quote and more information on the process.

Hopefully all this didn’t scare you from buying an older home in a mature area. Red Deer has some of the most beautiful mature homes in the province (I think) in mature neighborhoods such as Woodlea, Waskasoo, Sunnybrook, Pines, Morrisroe, Anders, Eastview, West Park & more. I wrote this blog because knowledge is key. Having the right information will help you make a better purchase, get the right home insurance, prepare for upgrades, etc.

Also, keep in mind, if a home does require some necessary updating for lower insurance or insurability altogether, there are many solutions, so these expenses don’t have to come out of pocket. You could do mortgage plus improvements, negotiate with the sellers to cover some of the expense, cashback mortgage, etc. Don’t panic! You CAN have the older home you dreamed of without the nightmares. Having an experienced Realtor is best! Me or my team can guide you through all your options and we can come up with a plan that will work best for you. We are educated & experienced in all types of homes. We can’t wait to hear from you & help you on your home buying journey! There are also many other things to consider and look out for when buying homes. This is just a few top ones. We want to make sure you know exactly what to expect from your new home.

Sincerely, Melissa Morin

Team Lead with The Melissa Morin Team @ Century 21 Maximum Cell: 403-318-5665 Email: melissa.morin@century21.ca

Made by Ignition