Instructing a Real Estate Broker

Important Inspections and Checks When Buying an Older Home

by Natalie Adams

If you're buying an older home, it becomes even more important to have the structure, framework, and other such features checked and inspected carefully. A homeowner may have updated some interior features and performed some cosmetic work to make an older home look newer, but this doesn't mean the home's structure is necessarily solid or in good repair! Consider some important inspections and checks you'll want to consider when buying an older home, and why these are so vitally important.


Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, are pollutants that are released in the air through paint, solvents, and other such compounds. These can be very dangerous when inhaled, and may become airborne after construction or remodelling work. It's good to test for these materials if a home seller has had updates done to a home, or if older paint and other such materials are beginning to peel or degrade.

Biological and bacterial contaminants

Older homes may have older plumbing pipes that have allowed biological and bacterial contaminants to seep into the plumbing from outside the home, and which have made their way into the home's water supplies; this can include E. coli as well as heavy metals contaminants. These contaminants can also make their way into the home through a leaky foundation. It's especially good to have the home tested for such contaminants if there has been any type of septic leak, farm runoff, or production facility runoff near the home.


Radon is a type of air pollution that can be very dangerous and which can build up in an older home with poor ventilation, and especially if the home is located near a production or manufacturing facility, where chemicals are widely used and emitted. An air quality test can note if there is radon in the home and how to vent or filter this substance to clean the air.


Asbestos has been outlawed in many parts of the world today, but this doesn't mean that older homes that used this material in construction automatically had it removed. Disreputable manufacturers of construction materials and supplies may also still use this material illegally, without the government's notice.

While asbestos may be rare in newer homes, it may be commonly found in older homes and in homes where sellers made quick fixes, as they may have been more likely to use off-brand, cheap supplies. Have the home tested for asbestos and work with a contractor to know your options for removing or containing it, if it's found in a home you might purchase.