Buying an older home has incredible benefits of timeless character and considerable charm. It also comes with plenty of responsibility and the occasional surprise. In the alternative, a new home might make it easier to avoid questionable plumbing fixes, faulty wiring, or a leaky roof. It is so vital to take the time to investigate an old home’s characteristics. Be a detective. Look for any general disrepair around the home, paying attention to masonry, siding, foundation, fences and any other structures on the property. Any points of concern should be addressed before moving forward with a new home purchase. Then, start asking questions.
It is pretty simple to remember the Top 3 things your insurance carrier will need to know when you buy an older house: updates, updates, updates.
When was the roof updated?
A roof that is showing signs of wear and tear, like missing shingles or splits in the rolled rubber, can expose a homeowner to future problems inside of the home. A roof in disrepair can cause leaks and water damage to the interior that you may not be able to see for weeks or months. It is always a good idea to know the age of the roof before moving forward with a purchase. If you know a new roof is needed, it is in your best interest to coordinate this prior to moving in. Due to the exposure a damaged roof presents, it can be a red flag for your insurance company when trying to insure your new home. The roof area is not limited to the shingles; be sure to pay attention to the fascia, flashing and other roofing components on the home. This can mean the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value for your roof.
When was the electrical system updated?
Electrical updates are of utmost importance when purchasing a new home. If the home is significantly older, the likelihood of knob and tube wiring, an antiquated wiring system with fabric wires, will stop a homeowners company dead in its tracks from insuring your property. Even if knob and tube is not present, you will still want to know when the electrical was last updated. If the home has had a complete update in the last few decades you’re usually safe. Above all, definitely make sure that the home has an updated electrical panel with circuit breakers.
When were the plumbing and heating systems updated?
You’ll want to ask about and review the plumbing, if not all of the piping has been replaced that can be OK, however you will want to make sure that the pipes are in good condition with no visible holes and are not leaking. An outdated or un-serviced heating can open a homeowner up to the risk of puff backs, which is a misfire in the furnace that sends soot throughout your home, or even worse a fire. If the furnace has been updated within a reasonable amount of time, ask when it was last serviced as that is just as important as making sure it was not outdated.
So there are the three things that you absolutely need to be able to share with your insurance professional. But don’t forget to ask one more vital question: “Has the home experienced any claims within the last 5 years?” This will be a great indication if there are any areas of concern that aren’t able to be seen upon inspection. If there has been a claim it is possible the cause of a claim has been resolved and may no longer be of concern but it is essential to know of any past claims.
Alexis Fetchko currently resides in the city of Harrisburg and is quite fond of exploring the Engleton neighborhood with her pup, Kali. She’s well on her way to completing her Certified Insurance Service Representative designation.