House shopping 101: Do you know what you don’t know about antique houses? Ask me!

wineva cobwebs compressedby Keith Tripp, March 2018

Placing offers to purchase and applying for financing and arranging a home inspection are time consuming and costly. Its good to know as much as possible about the house before taking those steps.

I consider anything older than 1960 to be an antique because it is around that time that significant improvements in construction started. I have come across many of these antiques as quick flips with shiny kitchen counter tops and floor tile and my clients are surprised when I tell them the house is still high risk for upcoming issues and costs. It’s not uncommon for me to identify 50 or more defects or risk factors on this type of house. Some of the biggest risk factors are below ground and not visible, so are beyond the scope of a visual home inspection




There are many questions to ask about antique homes. I have selected the first five below, partly because you may not be able to determine these visually on your first visit to the home, and because related costs can be high.

Top five questions to ask the selling parties for antique houses:

  • Has the main water line to the house from the street been upgraded?
  • Has the sewer line from the house to the street been replaced or upgraded?
  • Is the foundation poured concrete or concrete block or other?
  • Have any foundation drainage or dampproofing upgrades been made on the foundation?
  • Is the electrical wiring a three-wire grounded system?

If you are a home buyer in the GTA, feel free to contact me early in your house shopping process with the address and age of a house you are interested in. I can send you a few key questions to ask that may save you time and money.