Inspecting older homes offers it’s own set of challenges.
Most communities have a section of town that still has the majority of homes over 50 years. In the twin cities all you have to do is drive around the east side of Saint Paul or visit certain neighborhoods in Minneapolis on the north or south side in particular. Newer housing developments tend to lie in the outer ring of the cities or in the suburbs.
When inspecting these older homes the home inspection company you hire should have experience with these types of properties.
Some of the issues may not be obvious like lead paint for instance it’s not something you can just look at and say definitively that the paint on the walls and windows is lead, it must be tested for.
Older heating systems such as gravity furnaces or boilers must be noted, and the use of stainless steel plumbing materials vs. today’s modern use of copper or pvc should be added to the home inspection report.
Many of these older homes also have had additions over the years. Adding a front porch or a larger living room, depending on who performed the addition there may be issues with the way walls were connected or footings were placed that are causing sagging or shifting.
Historic home kitchens and baths have nuances that could set off alarms with inexperienced home inspectors. One example: ground fault circuit interrupter outlets. Unless a historic home’s kitchen or baths have been recently redone, it’s unlikely inspectors will find GFCI outlets in those rooms. In this case, inspectors might suggest clients consider having those upgraded for safety, but it’s usually not required that the seller upgrade the outlets, because that wasn’t the code when the kitchen was built.
Inexperienced inspectors might fall into a trap of saying something’s not right in an old home because that’s not how we do it today, Marlow said. But the reality is that historic homes are very different and those differences aren’t necessarily bad. You could make any house sound like a death trap, the key is putting it in context. There are things that are 100 years old and you need to break it down between the things that may not be convenient versus the things that are downright safety hazards.
In Minneapolis Saint Paul Inspections Plus, home inspectors will conduct a thorough on-site evaluation of the historic property and it is recommended that, as the home buyer, you follow along. This will allow you to view any deficiencies first-hand and it also enables the historic home inspector to inform and educate you along the way. You will learn how the historic home functions and you may learn a thing or two about construction practices and materials that are relegated to another era.
Whether you need historic home inspections, older home inspections, luxury home inspections or you are looking to buy a newer home, Inspections Plus wants to be your Twin Cities historic home inspector.