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House Calls: No Broker Involved

Edith Lank on

More expensive to remedy than inadequate wiring, though, is outdated plumbing, so you'd better check that. Old galvanized pipes should have been replaced by copper pipes. Galvanized pipes suffer from corrosion and eventually develop hardening of the arteries, as deposits build up on the inside until they impede the flow of water.

This happens first with the horizontal hot-water lines, so start checking outward from the hot water heater. What you don't want to see is a patch job, where a single emergency was solved by putting a length of copper pipe into old galvanized tubing. Such a joint signals a serious chemical reaction ahead. Eventually, someone will have to rip out the whole line and replace it with copper, and that someone might be you.

If the house you eventually hope to buy has a modernized kitchen and bathrooms, it's likely the whole plumbing system was updated when they were installed. If you're in doubt, ask.

If there is a well, you'll want proof of water quality and flow. If there's a septic system, ask questions about legal installation and past performance. If sewers are available but not installed, you may have trouble placing a mortgage.

While we're on the subject of water flow, understand that small amounts of dampness on basement walls are almost standard in some localities. One quick way to judge whether a basement has been flooded is to see what's stored down there. Piles of old papers may signal a packrat homeowner -- and a dry basement.

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In any event, if you offer to buy an antique house -- or any house -- it's wise to include in your written purchase offer that your buying is "subject to the receipt of a satisfactory inspection by a home inspector." You then hire the inspector and pay for the service. And even if the report turns up some problem, you'd still have the option of going ahead with the purchase.

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Contact Edith Lank at www.askedith.com, at edithlank@aol.com or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.

Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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