6 Problems to Look for Before Buying an Older Santa Cruz Home

Posted by Lauren Spencer on Thursday, April 7th, 2011 at 11:01pm.

Are visions of renovating a stately, older Santa Cruz home dancing in your head?  Older homes offer a unique beauty that can’t be found in newer homes. And, rehabbing them can be rewarding.  But, think twice before taking on this difficult and expensive task.
Here are six problems to look for in the older home you’re thinking about buying:

1.    Plumbing problems.  The plumbing in older homes can be inefficient or downright unreliable.  Homes that are 25 years old or older almost always have plumbing problems with the most common problem being lead pipes.  Even after lead pipes were replaced in the late 1940s, the earliest galvanized steel pipes still contained lead. Lead also was present in much of the solder used to join copper pipes as recently as the mid-1980s.

2.    Electrical issues.  Electricity in older homes may not be grounded and wiring may not be safely installed.  Even if the electricity is grounded, it may not be available in the quantity needed for today’s home and the vast array of gadgets that depend on electricity.  Electrical boxes in vintage homes were typically 60 or 100 amps. Today's standard is 200 amps.

3.    Lack of insulation.  Older homes are typically drafty, cold and uncomfortable. Not to mention expensive to heat and cool.  Check the type of insulation that was used.   Many older homes were insulated with newspaper, asbestos, or not insulated at all.

4.    Cracked foundations.  The foundation materials used in older homes, such as cement and cinder blocks, crack and leak over time.  These days the exterior sides of foundations are commonly sealed; not so with older homes.  As a result, water seepage occurs and can lead to structural threats and health issues such as mold.


The wisest thing to do before buying an older home is to have it thoroughly inspected by a professional home inspector.  Then, calculate exactly how much time and money it’ll take to renovate the home so it matches the vision in your head.

Whether your dream is to buy an older or newer Santa Cruz home, I can help.  Give me a call today at 831-662-6522 or email me at Lauren@LaurenSpencer.com

For more information, please visit my website at www.MySantaCruzRealEstate.com

About Lauren Spencer

Award-Winning Santa Cruz REALTOR®

Lauren Spencer is your local real estate expert, specializing in Santa Cruz real estate and surrounding communities—this is where she lives, works, and plays too. Let her know your questions about the community and county and she'll be happy to fill you in on all you want to know! Lauren Spencer has consistently been voted best local REALTOR in Santa Cruz and is always happy to offer her advice and expertise. Call her at: 800.226.4717.

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