120 yr old home

I have seen this home before and now I am inspecting it this week. Very old, beat up window sills, chipped paint on wall but not due to any moisture. My question is…How can I explain that these problems are not flaws and that it is just expected due to the age of the home without my client getting upset? As I already know, she expects the seller to do something about the chipped paint issue.

Scared to report:(

Managing your client’s expectations is of utmost importance. Let them know what you do and what to expect from your report. Paint chips are normal wear and tear especially for a 120 year old home.

This may help: http://www.nachi.org/what_really_matters.htm

Another aid:


1. Definitions and Scope

1.1. A Home Inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of a residential dwelling, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify observed material defects within specific components of said dwelling. Components may include any combination of mechanical, structural, electrical, plumbing, or other essential systems or portions of the home, as identified and agreed to by the Client and Inspector, prior to the inspection process.
[INDENT]I. A Home Inspection is intended to assist in evaluation of the overall condition of the dwelling. The inspection is based on observation of the visible and apparent condition of the structure and its components on the date of the inspection and not the prediction of future conditions.
II. A home inspection will not reveal every concern that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the day of the inspection.
1.2. A Material Defect is a condition of a residential real property or any portion of it that would have a significant adverse impact on the value of the real property or that involves an unreasonable risk to people on the property. The fact that a structural element, system or subsystem is near, at or beyond the end of the normal useful life of such a structural element, system or subsystem is not by itself a material defect.
1.3. An Inspection report shall describe and identify in written format the inspected systems, structures, and components of the dwelling and shall identify material defects observed. Inspection reports may contain recommendations regarding conditions reported or recommendations for correction, monitoring or further evaluation by professionals, but this is not required.

The clients negotiations are way beyond your inspection. She is free to try and negotiate any repair or upgrade that she wishes.

As for the chipped paint. If it’s due to age then say so. It definitely shows lack of maintenance as the paint is an important structural element of the home. My comment would basically describe the condition I see and what happens if it isn’t fixed. I’ll state that the apprarent cause is lack of normal maintenance. (given the condition you describe). I think my comment discusses that paint fails if regular maintenance isn’t done. Given what it costs to prep and paint a home I would think that the paints condition is certainly pertinent to the clients decision to purchase and how much to pay. I’d say it effects the value of the property adversely so meets the definition of a material defect.

As I said up front whether she decides to seek a concession over it is just is not my problem.

Thank you for the replies.

[FONT=Arial]Older homes will sometimes have several layers of paint peeling off of the walls and ceilings. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]If the house is 120 years old and the interior paint is more than 25-30 years old I would have it tested for LEAD! [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Look for small BRITTLE sections the size of your thumbnail / fingernail and put them in a “Baggie” and send them off to a lab ASAP! Pro Lab has a good “turn-around” time. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]{Modern Paint will not “Chip Up”!}[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]In case you have to send in samples from both outside the house and inside several different rooms charge your client approximately $135.00 for each “Baggie”. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Be sure to LABEL each “Baggie” so you will know WHERE the sample {s} came from.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]A Real Estate Agent told me of a young single mother who bought a home and she wanted her son’s room and the dining repainted. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]The painters told her that the “Old Chipped Paint” was lead and that she would have to have ALL of the lead paint removed from the interior of the home before they could proceed. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]She did not beleive the painters and sent samples to the lab. They [FONT=Arial]confirmed that the “small brittle paint chips” were lead. [/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]The price to remove the lead paint from both the inside and outside of the home? $27,000.00[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]She did not have the money and she did not want her two children exposed to lead paint so she “Abandoned” the house and is living with her parents. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Now she is suing the inspector, the original owners and the Real Estate Agent {S}! [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]I say…. Be CAREFUL …. Protect your client and…. PROTECT yourself from a future lawsuit![/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Good Luck! :p[/FONT]

If she wants a “perfect” house, tell her to buy a new one, and wish her good luck.

To me, the paint condition comes under cosmetic, just as worn or ugly carpet, worn hardwood floors, cracked counter/ floor tiles. What you see, is what ya get!!

Virtually ALL older homes will have lead paint, and note that possibility, just as you would the possibility the old “popcorn” ceilings “may” contain asbestos.

Cosmetic issues are between buyer and seller, believe that is called necogations. Let the realtors hash that out, that’s what they are being over paid to do.

Unless you are certified/licensed by the state of Ohio (I see you are in Ohio), you would be well advised to refrain from actually performing ANY “lead testing” OR “sampling”… that “$135 baggie” or $25 swab could cost you thousands in fines otherwise.
Just my word to the wise.

The Home Inspectors in New Hampshire who collect “Paint chips / samples” do not have to have a [FONT=Arial]State and I repeat “State license / State Certification” to do so. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]I am sure that if you go to your local Home Depot store you will see “Kits” for the collection of Lead paint chips, asbestos, mold, radon in air, and for testing your water supply. [/FONT]

Just to be clear… Although “Home Owners” use these kits to collect and send in “Paint Samples to Certified Laboratories / Testing Facilities on a regular basis … I strongly recommend that each and every Home Inspector who suspects Asbestos, or Mold in a Home have samples collected by a “Certified / Trained” inspector.


I do NOT advocate [FONT=Arial]disturbing / loosening ANY suspected asbestos fibers when and IF you ever collect anything on a job site. [/FONT]

  • I recommend that you call in a Professional so as to limit ANY liability on your part.

[FONT=Arial]When it comes to Asbestos hiring a “Certified Inspector” will absolve you have being blamed for “contaminating the air” in the home. [/FONT]

Good Luck! :stuck_out_tongue:

Did someone REALLY say this up above:

“the paint is an important structural element of the home.”

It is on a 120 year old home, it might be all that’s holding up the roof! :wink: just kidding!



General provisions and prohibitions according to the Ohio administrative code


Much like a house I bought years ago in an “as in” condition.
As my termite inspector said:
“The only thing holding this house up, are the termites holding hands!!”

Well it looks like we are on to something here and I will have to simply add that as an older home, it may be subject to lead paint and asbestos to save my butt. By the way does anyone know how old a home has to be to be “free from lead and asbestos”?


Pre 1979 has potential for lead based paint and lead based solder in plumbing systems

How about, probably never?

Even thou newer construction is “lead free” , that does not account for our water provider, which may or may not be “lead free”.

Asbestos, even thou it was out lawed in “popcorn” ceilings and other construction applications (any out there know the date?), asbestos is a natural substance, how do you “contain” that? And, just how many of those asbestos manufactured oven mits and hot pads from the 40’s/50’s are still out there? (many were given out in those years as promotional items)

Lead paint was phased out (by government mandate), but for a while in some states was still available in quarts only. (4 quarts made a gallon, so after 4 trips to the paint store, I had enough to do my bathroom!!)

I know that the NACHI team may have the dates after which these products were completely pulled off the market, and will hopefully share their knowledge.

That will not, however, save the buyer of my house, as I still have lead based paint in my garage for “touch up” (waste not, want not!!)

To comply with the “truth in posting” I have little faith in the “new” science of scare tactics. I have lived in a house for 40 years with, lead paint and plumbing, asbestos wrapped pipes and heating ducts, and much to the unhappiness of social security, I now collect my pathetic monthly check!!
The smoking will kill me much sooner than any exposure to asbestos and lead paint will!

Paint installed before 1978 has lead in it. Explain the dangers.

Paint is the first line of defense for the home structure. Bad paint will ultimately lead to rot and other structural damage. Of course some inspectors buy the agents theory that this is a cosmetic issue only. That was the tone from the start of this thread. It is not. Paint in good condition is an essential structural element of the house as system.

Huh?..It is important to maintain the paint but it is not a structural element of the house.