What to Know When Buying an Older Home

When buying a home, especially an older home in Chicago's North Shore, there are a few main things you want to ensure you keep an eye out for. As hard as it may be to take off your blinders and try to focus on potential negatives and damages, by doing so, you could be saving yourself from either purchasing a home you can’t afford to fix or upgrade or purchasing a home you may regret later in life.

What to Know When Buying an Older Home

We want all our buyers to be well-informed of what they are getting into and several neighborhoods in Glenview, Evanston, and Willmette offer these  historical or vintage homes.  Here are a few of the most important things you should pay attention to and inspect when buying an older home.


If the roof hasn’t been replaced in the last 5-7 years you may want to have it inspected. While most roofing materials will last longer than this, some newer and cheaper materials only have a 10-15 year life and thus you may have to budget for a roof repair in the near future.


Any foundation issues are generally a huge red flag in real estate purchases. This can cause extreme structural issues and is generally a very expensive repair, often resulting in structural and foundation repairs. Post and piller is a common foundation material dating back over a hundred years and they can have some issues. 


Old electrical is not only less efficient but is often also the source of potential fire dangers. Make sure that all the electrical components, outlets and electrical boxes are inspected thoroughly and up to date. Knob and tube wiring is common in older homes but can be thousands to replace. Make sure you understand what you are taking on if the electrical needs replacing. 2


Another potentially costly repair is plumbing. Plumbing should also be up to date and inspected thoroughly, as any leaks or old/damaged plumbing could result in mold growth and water damage, in addition to the repair bill.


Is the home energy efficient? Generally speaking, older homes are less efficient than new construction and thus could cost you more on your energy bill each month. Try to see if any conservation methods have been implicated or if more energy-efficient bulbs and electrical components have been installed. Check for windows and double pane glass, air around fireplaces and doors or if appliances have been certified with energy star seals. 

Historical house in Glenview Illinois


Are the appliances old? In bad shape? You can easily spend between $300-$2500 on each appliance that needs replacing, depending on your preference but buyers will notice if the appliances are cheap as well. Try going middle of the road to appeal to all buyers. 


Single pane or double pane? Windows are another one of the most expensive repairs/upgrades within a home and thus you want to make sure that the windows will not need to be replaced in the near future unless you budget accordingly. Additionally, single pane windows will result in higher electric bills whereas double pane windows help regulate your home’s temperature better.


Make sure to have your inspector check all areas for potential mold and mildew or water damage as this could mean there is mold present even if not visible to the naked eye. If an area smells musty, there may be mold. 

Note: Also, remember to use an inspector that is familiar with older homes. You don't want a newbie who only inspects new construction or just doesn't have the experience to understand the complex nuances of an older home. Ask around or simply ask us! We have a wealth of knowledge and experience and can help connect you with a knowledgeable inspector in the North Shore Chicago area. 

If you’re currently searching for a new home, are interested in getting more information on building a new construction home or have any general questions regarding North Shore Chicago Real Estate, please feel free to contact our office at any time and we would be more than happy to assist you with all of your Real Estate needs.

Check out all the homes in the Chicago North Shore area built before 1940

155 Properties
Page 1 of 5

Post a Comment