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Old 02-25-2013, 10:13 PM
 
98 posts, read 196,896 times
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Default Considering buying a late 1970s home

My husband and I are considering buying a home built in 1978. Does anyone have advice on things we should look closely at when it comes to an older home? The windows are new, roof is new, HVAC updated...but what about wiring, maintenance issues, etc. Are there certain things that can be more of a problem with a home of this age?
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:31 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,321 posts, read 18,881,290 times
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Aluminum wiring was somewhat prevalent from 1965-1973.

Maintenance issues are no less or more to a general degree- a lot has too depend on how it has been maintained in the past.

There can be other issues if the home has them- but again, it depends on past maintenance and care i.e., cast iron pipe, galvanized pipe, hard pipe duct, foundation "block" wall, framing material spans-

...the list can go on an on. It's a perfect scenario for hiring a private inspector.

Investigate, be informed, and make an educated decision based on the information at-hand.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:09 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
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Ours was built that year, and those items you listed are most of what has been needed it. I will add the water heater, kitchen appliances, and garage door opener. In that year modern wiring, with circuit breakers and grounded outlets was used, and the "popcorn" ceilings did not contain asbestos. Plumbing was copper in most areas. Kitchen and bathroom faucets, and toilets should have been updated by now or should be soon. I agree with getting a good inspection.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,100 posts, read 24,024,770 times
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meth lab. (In some areas, you would be wise to check for that.)

By 1978, a lot of the problems with older homes had been addressed. Pay close attention to the bathroom and UNDER the bathroom. Mold and leaks are somewhat common issues, and cover-ups also common. The replacement windows is a good sign that the house may be OK. Get documentation on the roof. Some insurance companies are picky about those.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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Since my house was built before 1900s, I think it's funny to hear 1978 as an older home.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Alaska
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Check the panel to see if it's a Federal Pacific. I'm not sure when they went out of business and they can be a fire hazard. Check the box for new wiring that may not have been inspected. Examine the plumbing too. Turn off the valves under the sink and toilet and see if water still runs. Every valve in our 1967 house leaked water (including the main shutoff). It's not a deal breaker, just an annoyance. You said new windows, but you should check to see if any seals have broken. We missed that on our house (noticed fogging when we drove by, but thought they were cleaning the carpet). If anything looks like it was retro-fitted (i.e., wood stove, pellet stove, etc.), ask if it was permitted. I heard a story that a person put in a pellet stove and the house burned down. Insurance refused to pay because it wasn't permitted and inspected. Check attic insulation too. Less insulation was required in 1978, so you might want to add to it.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
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Already covered here....Aluminum wiring and Federal Pacific panels and the most common on the hit list for 70's homes.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:44 PM
 
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Just remember that there may not be much that is 'standard'. You may find that you can't just go to a Big Box store and buy things off the shelf and expect them to fit. You might have to 'fudge' some things.

Not a problem if you or your spouse is 'handy'. Could be a problem if you're not.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:28 PM
 
98 posts, read 196,896 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fancy-Schmancy View Post
Just remember that there may not be much that is 'standard'. You may find that you can't just go to a Big Box store and buy things off the shelf and expect them to fit. You might have to 'fudge' some things.

Not a problem if you or your spouse is 'handy'. Could be a problem if you're not.

This concerns me because my husband is not very handy and we tend to pay for any work that needs to be done on our current house built in 1997! Very good point.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:30 PM
 
98 posts, read 196,896 times
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It does have popcorn ceilings. Is it expensive to have those redone? My agent was saying sometimes people opt to just drywall right over the popcorn or something like that instead of scraping them.
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