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Top 10 Defects in Renovated Properties

For many years there has been a continuing trend towards old properties. Old buildings with high ceilings, old mansions that are brought back to life. The ideas and wishes are usually big, but also the list of shortcomings of old properties is usually long. Nevertheless, used real estate offers a charm that few can resist. 

People who are interested in a used real estate, probably also look at objects, in which already was invested for renovation before. The rules for the maintenance of buildings in Germany alone nowadays stipulate that properties must generally be kept in good condition. However, this does not protect against defects that occur naturally due to the age of a property.

We have compiled a collection of typical defects that can be found in used and renovated properties. It is always advisable to inspect a property several times before buying. The more you familiarize yourself with the property, test every window and every switch, the fewer nasty surprises you will have after the purchase.

The Most Common Defects in Used Properties 

1. The Building Substance / Building Materials 

In the past, buildings were not built with the same materials as they are today. Postwar, a lot of work was done with building rubble - it was not the quality that mattered, but the speed with which buildings could be rebuilt. This can be seen today in the defects in the building structure. Asbestos and other harmful materials were also used in the past. Therefore, a critical eye should always be kept on the building materials.

2. The Roof 

The roof of an object offers protection from wind and weather and forms the crown of the house. Today roofs are well insulated and built on a solid substructure. However, if a roof is not insulated and is supported on a musty wooden construction that no longer radiates much security, this can become a major cost factor. 
Even traces of madder or dormouse do not augur well. The excrement of the animals usually means that they are maddening.

Special care must be taken with flat roofs - the correct execution here is particularly important to avoid later damage. Until 1980 many flat roofs were installed improperly, which led to numerous necessary modernizations.

3. Humidity 

Just as the roof can become a problem, so can an old cellar. Before 1945, cellars in Germany were often built without proper sealing. This can cause moisture to build up throughout the house, which is drawn out of the floor through the walls from below.
Basically, it is the design of the cellar that determines whether a cellar can be drained economically. This is only possible with a continuous floor slab, but not with the strip foundations that are often used.

If you should come across a buyer who deliberately wants to hide moisture in the cellar, you can expose him: freshly painted white walls in the cellar are a typical indication.

However, moisture can form at all places in an object where water pipes run. Multiple inspections make sense to be able to look at everything with enough time.

4. Insulation and Sealing of the Building 

Even if good insulation is common nowadays, this often must be retrofitted in old properties at great expense. The less an object is insulated, the more heat it can lose to the outside and the more it can heat up in summer. The question of insulation and sealing is therefore also a question of energy consumption. The more that has already been invested in modernizing a building, the more it will already be insulated. The roof is a good starting point for assessing the progress of the work.

5. Mold 

A mold infestation can lead to a rapid reduction in the value of a property. It is usually caused by moisture but can also have completely different causes. There are many different types of mold - some devastating, some easy to combat. 
Molds gnaw away at the durability of the building fabric and has a very negative effect on the health of the property's inhabitants. As a matter of principle, action should always be taken immediately in the event of mold infestation before something worse develops.
So-called sponges form from mold, like dry rot, which can even lead to the demolition of buildings. 
Therefore, it is especially important to keep an eye out when buying a house!

6. Cabling - the Electrical System of the Property 

We all know that modern technology has developed rapidly in recent years. This also creates hurdles in connection with old real estate. What electrical equipment has been installed? Is there an Internet connection? Has investment already been made in the modernization of the cabling? What about the protection of the cabling? Very old properties even have external cabling. 

7. The Heating System 

The heating system can be inspected just as well as the electrical wiring of a property. In the past, properties were equipped with a different heating system than is the case today. There were many decentralized (room by room) heating systems that are not compatible with today's combustion systems. On the other hand, the heating system is usually one of the first points to be addressed during renovation work. Here, just as with insulation, a lot of money can be saved on energy consumption with one investment. If nothing has been invested in the heating system, it can be expensive for the buyer.

Central heating systems from before 1985 must be replaced for emission reasons. This must also be considered during an inspection.

8. Water Pipes - Condition of the Pipes 

Water pipes made of lead, which were installed above the plaster are not uncommon in old properties. Anyone who discovers the pipes during the first inspection should make a note. A defect that will cause high costs in the future. But even if the pipes are not visible, they can be made of lead. Today we know that lead is harmful to humans. Fresh water pipes are therefore usually made of copper, while wastewater pipes are made of steel and plastic. Laying new water pipes usually means having to set off everything. This is an enormous effort - so please ask for the material of the water pipes.

9. Missing Fire Protection 

Fire protection was not a major issue in the recent past. This leads to a common problem, especially with old freestanding properties: there is no reasonable route for the arrival the fire brigade can take. Such a thing must be given according to today's regulations. In the worst case this even means the creation of a new access road. Fire doors are also compulsory in many places nowadays.

10. Missing Noise Protection 

In addition to fire protection, many regulations and provisions on noise protection have been issued in recent years. Of course, 100 years ago nobody who built a house at that time could know this. Wooden windows with simple glazing, undamped steps on the wooden beams from the upper floor, noisy doors without rubber protection - at that time, daily life for the ears of the inhabitants. Today, retrofitting is necessary - on stairs, doors, and false ceilings.


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