Caveats for Real Estate Investors

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As a real estate agent or real estate investor, you will be looking at numerous properties. Some of these will be older homes that look good with a fresh coat of paint. Great homes and commercial properties can be old or new, however, before you invest in any property or try to sell any property, get an inspection performed. This is to undercover any potential problems that may be hidden behind the plaster, drywall, and fresh paint.


It is no lie that building codes have changed for everything over the last fifty to one hundred years. Plumbing features have changed. In the old days, cast iron or galvanized pipes were used for plumbing. In modern times copper or PVC are the pipes of choice.  The problem with older cast iron pipes is rust. Older galvanized steel water lines are known to corrode get plugged up over the years. Just because you see copper pipes, doesn’t mean there isn’t some other kind behind the walls. The only way to know for sure is through a professional inspection.

Electric Wiring

Over the years the type of wiring used to conduct electricity has changed as well as the grounding practices and amperages available at outlets. Now days most homes are wired with a plastic-sheathed, insulated three-wire cable that is made to reduce the chances of electrical fires. In older homes, the wiring can be one or a combination of several wiring systems that may not be safe. These include Knob and Tube, Armored Cable, and Two-wire plastic-sheathed cable. In addition to the unsafe wiring, many homes do not have enough outlets for modern families and businesses.

Heating and Air Systems

Although older model heating and air systems are not necessarily dangers, they aren’t the most fuel efficient systems for heating and cooling homes. Many of them are hard to find replacement parts for as well. Knowing what kind of system there is before you need it can help you find parts places ahead of time or help you replace it before it falls apart.


Basements used to be used for other things like storage, and while some may have been prepped to keep out bugs, pests, and water, not all were. Proper inspection can help you figure out if the basement has been properly water sealed or damp proofed. If it hasn’t, chances are there may be unseen deterioration behind the walls that may cost megabucks to repair.


Over the years, wood naturally deteriorates. This is a huge problem with older homes. Even if the roof has been taken care of properly, there may be still be damage and deterioration that needs to be attended to under the shingles. In addition, the roof may be sagging. The chimney may be deteriorating, or any metal like the flashing may have rusted through. Inspectors will find and note these costly fixes for you.


Insulation hasn’t always been monitored or as available as it is now. In older homes, owners would often fill cracks and crevices with paper or wood particles. With the advent of modern insulation, these were often covered over with new insulation to help reduce heating and cooling costs. Although the home may hold hot or cold air well, it may be a fire hazard. Having someone inspect the home, will help spot the potential fire danger and keep you from having to replace more than just insulation.

Being smart and informed about older homes can keep you from investing in or selling a home that needs a lot of work. For more information on real estate investment, contact us at

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