Buying a House 25 Years or Older

Generally older homes fall into a familiar pattern of aging components and repairs, renovations, additions.  All the components in a home have a life expectancy and are prone to deterioration.  Occasionally a component or appliance will far outlast their life expectancy (I have some kitchen appliances from the late 80s that I am quite proud of) but as a general rule the life expectancy of components will fall into a predictable bell curve.   As with anything regular maintenance, gentle use, and select repairs can prolong life expectancy but with neglect (or bad luck) the life expectancy will be shortened.  When a house is 25 years or older many components of the home are beyond their life expectancy and should have been replaced.  In some cases, components have been replaced multiple times already.  In other cases, components are wearing and need selective repairs and upgrades.  It is common to see a mix of materials, repairs, and different ages of components in older homes– the buyer should review the Residential Property Disclosure and otherwise ask the seller for more information to try to determine age/repair/replacement/service history information.  It is also common for repairs, additions and renovations in older homes to be performed to varying degrees of quality and some of this work may be sub-standard.  The information below is intended to help homebuyers by providing a reference for what the condition of a typical 25 year or older house might be.

Other relevant articles: Buying a Neglected Home.   Buying a House Between 15-25 Years Old.  Buying a Pre-1960 House

Code Compliance

For older homes it is common to have areas that no longer comply with current code.  Homeowners are not obligated to maintain their home to current code standards, only to the standards that were in place the year the home was built.  Later repairs, renovations and additions ideally should have complied with the code standards that were in place the year they were performed however it can be difficult or impossible for the home inspector to determine this information.  Although the Home Inspector is informed by code and will point out safety concerns, among other things, verifying code compliance is beyond the scope of a home inspection.  The buyer should review the Residential Property Disclosure and otherwise ask the seller for more information to try to determine the age/repair/replacement/service history information.

Repairs, Additions and Renovations

It is common for repairs, additions and renovations in older homes to be performed to varying degrees of quality and some of this work may be sub-standard.  Un-permitted owner built additions are very common in our area.  Buyers should contact the county/city for permit information and ask the seller for information regarding work warranties, permits, plans, receipts and other documentation.  It is common for homes to be built to a higher level of quality than later additions/renovations because the original home was permitted and built by a general contractor and later additions/renovations were not.  Owner work is almost always sub-standard compared with licensed contractors, in other cases un-qualified labor was hired for work that should only be performed by licensed professionals such as structural repairs, electrical, plumbing and HVAC repairs.   Buyers should not be expected to pay full retail for un-permitted additions and renovations built to a lesser quality that may have hidden or latent issues.

History of Water or Wood Destroying Insect Damage

After 25 years it is common for homes to have experienced damage from leaks, flood events or wood destroying insects.  Water/insect damage could indicate a problem that was resolved years ago, or an active problem that need furthers attention and repair– making this determination with older homes can be difficult even for licensed professionals.  Some areas may need to be monitored and re-evaluated over time to prevent further issues.  The seller should always be asked for information about repair/treatment history and whether the home is still under pest service/warranty.

Crawlspace/Basement Environment

Unless a crawl space or basement as been fully renovated, a buyer of an older home should budget for potentially expensive repairs/renovations- more on foundation areas here.  These are typical observations in an older basement or crawl space:

  • History of water penetration from outside (grading/drainage repairs needed)
  • History of foundation cracks and settling (grading/drainage repairs needed)
  • Evidence of water penetration at finished basement (grading/drainage repairs needed)
  • Potential air quality issues at finished basement (grading/drainage repairs needed)
  • History of structural damages and repairs (select framing repairs needed)
  • Missing or moisture damaged insulation in crawl space (ventilation upgrades needed)
  • Missing/damaged ground vapor retarder in crawl space
  • History of leaks and wood destroying insects

Attic Environment

Some typical observations in an older attic:

  • Missing or inadequate insulation at areas
  • Sagging framing at areas (select framing repairs needed)
  • History of leaks and repairs at areas
  • Water damage to framing around chimney
  • Disconnected duct work or exhaust fans

What should have already been replaced after 25 years?

As a general rule the components below should have been replaced after 25 years, in some cases they have been replaced multiple times, or may be at or beyond their expected service life again.

Typical Life Expectancy

Roof/Skylights/Chimney cap/Flashing:  25 years
Gutter system:  20-25 years
Heating and Cooling Equipment:  15-25 years
Bathroom/Range Exhaust fans:  8-15 years
Water Heater:  15-20 years
Expansion tank/PRV: 8-12 years
Well Pressure system equipment: 8-12 years
Well pump: 20 years
Kitchen/Laundry Appliances:  10-20 years
Toilet Flush Assembly and Flange:  7-15 years
Kitchen/bathroom faucets:  15-20 years
GFCI outlets:  10 years
Smoke/CO detectors:  10 years
Asphalt hard surfaces:  8-12 years
Concrete/patio surfaces:  10-25 years
Fireplaces and flues:  15-25 years

What may need repairs/replacement after 25 years?

Unless a full renovation has taken place, typically some repairs  or pending replacement will be needed in the following categories:

Typical Life Expectancy

Siding/trim:  20-60 years depends on material and installation.
Windows/Doors:  15-40 years
Decks: 15-30 years depending on materials and maintenance
Electrical switches and outlets:  20-35 years
Plumbing:  40-80 years
Tub/Shower surrounds: 20-35 years
Septic System: 25-45 years
See Attic/Basement/Crawl Space Environments

Asheville Older Home Inspectors

Builder Buddy is your resource for Older Home Inspections in the Asheville area.  We also provide Historic Home Inspections, Vintage Home Inspections, Old Home Inspections, Radon testing, Mold testing, Water testing, Well Inspections, Septic Inspections.  Schedule online or call with questions.

For information about Buying Homes 15 Years or Newer
For Information about Buying a Home 15-25 Years Old
For Information about Buying Homes Pre-1960
This article is intended to help home buyers looking at Homes 25 Years and Older

Buying a 25 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 25 Year Old Home, Buying a 26 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 26 Year Old Home
Buying a 27 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 27Year Old Home, Buying a 28 Year Old Home, Inspecting an 28 Year Old Home
Buying a 29 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 29 Year Old Home, Buying a 30 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 30 Year Old Home
Buying a 31 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 31 Year Old Home, Buying a 32 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 32 Year Old Home
Buying a 33 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 33 Year Old Home, Buying a 34 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 34 Year Old Home
Buying a 35 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 35 Year Old Home, Buying a 36 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 36 Year Old Home
Buying a 35 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 35 Year Old Home, Buying a 36 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 36 Year Old Home
Buying a 35 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 35 Year Old Home, Buying a 36 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 36 Year Old Home
Buying a 37 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 37 Year Old Home, Buying a 38 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 38 Year Old Home
Buying a 39 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 39 Year Old Home, Buying a 40 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 40 Year Old Home
Buying a 41 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 41 Year Old Home, Buying a 42 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 42 Year Old Home
Buying a 43 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 43 Year Old Home, Buying a 44 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 44 Year Old Home
Buying a 45 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 45 Year Old Home, Buying a 46 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 46 Year Old Home
Buying a 47 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 47 Year Old Home, Buying a 48 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 48 Year Old Home
Buying a 49 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 49 Year Old Home, Buying a 50 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 50 Year Old Home
Buying a 51 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 51 Year Old Home, Buying a 52 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 52 Year Old Home
Buying a 53 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 53 Year Old Home, Buying a 54 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 54 Year Old Home
Buying a 55 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 55 Year Old Home, Buying a 56 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 56 Year Old Home
Buying a 57 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 57 Year Old Home, Buying a 58 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 58 Year Old Home
Buying a 59 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 59 Year Old Home, Buying a 60 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 60 Year Old Home
Buying a 61 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 61 Year Old Home, Buying a 62 Year Old Home, Inspecting a 62 Year Old Home

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