Homebuyers who are considering purchasing older homes usually conduct a thorough inspection of the house first. Unfortunately, the inspection usually focuses only on what can be seen by the eyes, such as the roof, walls, and floors. Those things hidden behind walls and under floors often escape scrutiny.
Before you decide to buy an older home that appears to be structurally sound and have a good design and features, hire a professional plumber to inspect the plumbing system. The house may look good on the outside, but its plumbing system could be screaming to be replaced. If the water pipes and drains of an older house are replaced, be ready to spend anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the current condition of the plumbing system.
If you purchase a home that was built during the early part of the 20th century, its plumbing system probably used pipes that were expected to last 100 years. The drawback of this type of pipe is that it leaches lead into the water supply, and lead can cause a host of serious health consequences. A house built in the 1960s probably has galvanized steel pipes with a lifespan of about 40 years. With either of these scenarios, the pipes are most likely due for a replacement.
Make sure to consider other factors, too, including the sewer lines and septic tanks of the house you are contemplating buying. Over the years, they may have deteriorated, especially if there are trees near the sewer lines. The roots of the trees may have strangled the lines.
Before deciding on purchasing an older home, have a professional plumber certify the integrity of the sewer lines, septic tanks, and conduits. This will spare you from expensive repairs in the future.