Interrupter CheckmarkInterrupter IconFacebookGoogle PlusInstagramGroupRamsey SolutionsTwitterYouTubeExpand MenuStoreCloseSearchExpand MenuBackStoreSign in
Skip to Main Content

Don't face investing alone. Start with a pro!

Home Buying

3 Minute Read

3 Major Considerations Before Buying a 20-Year-Old House

3 Minute Read

If you’re like the average home buyer, you’re probably considering a home that’s around 20 years old, according to the National Association of Realtors.

A 20-year-old home that’s been well maintained can be a solid investment. It’s new enough to feature modern conveniences yet old enough to provide an established place to lay your head. But after a couple of decades, a home’s age can begin to show.

So what should you look for? Here are a few good places to start.

Maintenance Due?

The 20-year mark ushers in a period of upkeep for several standard home features and systems. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) estimates the following components may require attention after 20 years:

  • HVAC system
  • Asphalt roof
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Wood fencing
  • Deck

If these originals haven’t been replaced in your dream home, it’s not the end of the world. They may have life in them yet. Just be sure you have three to six months of expenses socked away in your emergency fund so you won’t be broke if something goes kaput after you move in.

Failed Pipe Dreams

Polybutylene (PB) plumbing came onto the scene in the late 1970s and was popular through the mid-1990s because it offered a quick and cost-effective alternative to copper piping. Unfortunately, PB pipes couldn’t stand the test of time, and major leaks were common.

Find expert agents to help you buy your home.

A class-action settlement reimbursed many homeowners for replacement costs, but that doesn’t mean every home has been updated. If you’re looking at a home built during the PB heyday, hire a certified home inspector to ensure quality plumbing fixtures are in place. An average two-story home with three bedrooms and two and a half baths could cost thousands of dollars to re-plumb.

Dated Décor

Every now and then a 20-year-old home sends you on a trip back through time. You might find yourself surrounded by hunter green countertops accented by ivy wallpaper, brass and honey oak, mirrored closet doors and maybe even a sponge-painted powder room.

Strangely enough, sometimes yesteryear’s décor can work in your favor. Why? Because many home buyers don’t have the imagination to see past the surface—and that could mean a really sweet deal for you.

Before walking away, ask yourself:

  • Does the home have a good floor plan?
  • Is it structurally sound?
  • Does it have nice curb appeal?
  • Is it located in a desirable neighborhood?

If so, it’s worth a closer look. Cosmetic fixes are often the easiest to make. It may require a small investment on your part, but a little sweat equity can add a lot to your home value.

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Whether or not a 20-year-old home is right for you is your decision, but it’s always smart to get an expert’s advice. If you want a real estate agent you can trust, try one of Dave's real estate Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs).

Try and ELP

Real Estate Terms

Buying a home? Freshen up on these real estate terms to make smart, well-informed decisions.

How to Buy Land

Have you dreamed of going off the grid? Or maybe you’ve just always wanted to be a farmer. Or do you just want to build your dream home outside of town? We've got you covered!

Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent

Hiring a great real estate agent is essential when you're thinking of buying or a selling a house. To help you with that, we have 10 questions to ask a real estate agent before you hire them.

15 Home-Buying Mistakes

Beware of these common home-buying mistakes. Learn how to avoid them so nothing slips through the cracks of one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make.

Buy a House With an Agent Who Serves, Not Sells

Find a Buyer's Agent

Buy a House With an Agent Who Serves, Not Sells.

You need an agent who cares more about you than their commission check.
Find a Buyer's Agent

Buy a House With an Agent Who Serves, Not Sells.

You need an agent who cares more about you than their commission check.
Find a Buyer's Agent