What to Know When Purchasing a Home Built in the 1950’s or 1960’s

Older homes may have components that are out of date. Over the years, technology has evolved and construction methods and safety items have been improving.  When purchasing a home built in the 1950’s or 1960’s you may be disappointed in how insufficient some of the components are. The electric service panels, ungrounded circuits, furnaces, insulation, and windows should be inspected before moving in.

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Electric Panels

Families today own and run many appliances, TV’s, computers, ceiling fans, hair dryers, hot tubs, etc. These items were not found in the homes of the 1950’s or 1960’s. These appliances and electronics use a lot of power. An older home’s electric panel was not built to accommodate them. If the old electric panel has not been upgraded, it may not be grounded. This is a huge safety concern. An electric panel that provides less than 100 AMP’s may not provide enough electricity for your family. Your electric panel may need to be updated and budgeted into your expenses.


If the home has an original furnace it may still be functional, but very inefficient, noisy and/or a fire hazard. Newer furnaces have built-in safety features such as overheat protection, and panel cover shut off switches. Older furnaces will also use more gas because they use a pilot light instead of an electronic ignition. Older furnaces may also contain asbestos. If the ductwork contains asbestos, it could be costly to repair/replace.

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Galvanized steel pipes used in an older home will rust over time. Cast iron drain lines rust from the inside. A video scan can find this damage. It could be costly to upgrade the drainage system.


Older homes may lack any insulation. Modern windows are much more energy efficient than older models. These items may be expensive to replace, although there are many incentives and tax credits for upgrading the components of your house.
By hiring a professional, certified Home Inspector, you will know if these problems exist and have a better idea of how extensive and costly repairs/upgrades might be.



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