That house with “character” could turn out to be a house of repair horrors. Here are the subtle signs the house you love is going to cost you more than just the purchase price.

By Lisa Marie Conklin | July 20, 2018


An old house with vintage fixtures is a wonderful discovery for some home buyers, but before you cue up episodes of This Old House for inspiration, take a closer look at the basement. “Cracked waste stacks, old brass plumbing, remnants of knob-and-tube electrical, ceiling stains from prior water saturation, oil stains from leaking tanks, asbestos pipe-wrap, and mortar dust around the perimeter are all common in old homes,” says Kate Ziegler, Realtor with Arborview Realty in Boston. “One or two of these is not a death warrant for the deal, but all of them in combination will be costly.”

“Even if you view a home on a beautiful, sunny day, check the gutters!” Ziegler says. Disconnected or missing downspouts and gutters are signs that point to a possible money pit. “Over time, water can degrade mortar and wash out soil that is supporting foundation walls, and water or ice flowing down siding rather than through downspouts can speed the deterioration of those materials,” says Ziegler.

Continue to Reader’s Digest for the full list.