Things to Consider Before Buying an Older Home

The Golden Age of Hollywood spanned from the 1910s to the 1960s. With it, we saw the rise of the film industry, stars were born, and many homes were built. Older homes in Los Angeles tend to be unique, stylish, and beautiful. Craftsman, Victorian, modern homes and more can be found all throughout Los Angeles. The diversity of homes in LA is truly astounding. While many have stood the test of time, others could certainly use a facelift. Even if it’s not a fixer-upper, there are a few things to consider when purchasing an older home in Los Angeles.

Materials Used to Build Older Homes

Even if the plumbing, electrical, and other necessities have all been upgraded in a home, there is still a good chance the materials used to build the home are outdated. Drywall, for example, didn’t even exist until the 1960s. If you’re buying a house built in the 1950s, there’s a good chance it was made with horsehair plaster. That’s plaster mixed with the hair of a horse as a binding agent. It involves a different care process and you may want to consider having new drywall installed in its place.

Nothing is Standard

Before the 1980s, everything from floor and ceiling tiles to insulation and siding could have been made out of asbestos. Standards, like stud spacing, also didn’t exist back then. That may sound like a minor point, but if you’re wall-mounting your new 60” flat screen TV, it definitely falls under the category of “concerning.” Electrical boxes may be outdated. Outlets may be in odd places. To the adventurous, these give the home personality, but to others, they can be a royal pain.

Repairs are More Frequent

When buying any home, you’re going to have it inspected. This process can reveal major issues and give you a good idea of what big things need to be done — and how much they’ll cost. Due to the nature of older homes, however, be prepared for things to go wrong more frequently than with a new build. Mold or mildew can build up from moisture. You may have foundation or structural issues over time. The cost of maintaining an older home can be much higher than that of new construction.

Similarly, outdated insulation, drafty windows, and small cracks can lead to higher electrical costs. Green living was not a term used until just a few years ago. Materials used to lower electric bills, conserve water, and cool or warm the house did not yet exist. Your utilities will likely be higher in an older home for this reason unless it has been modernized by previous owners.

Owning an Older Home Means Owning Something Unique

Older homes can come with many challenges, but they also come with an opportunity to make something uniquely yours. When looking for an older home, you need to look at the opportunity — not just what it is but what it can be. It will surely be more labor-intensive, but the process can be a labor of love. Live in an older home and it will reveal its personality to you. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but it’s also what makes your home unique. The quirkiness of older homes is what makes them lovable.  As the saying goes, “they don’t build ‘em like they used to.”


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