Is It OK To Buy a 70 Year Old House?

Is It OK To Buy a 70 Year Old House

Buying a house is always a good investment. Owning a home ensures you’ll pay fewer taxes, and a mortgage is usually cheaper than rent.

Additionally, it is yours, so you can sell it whenever you want. And you most likely will sell for a profit. 

Owning a home gives you a sense of pride and freedom from the stipulations of renting. But is it better to buy a new home or an older dwelling? And if you buy an older structure, is one that’s 70 years old a good investment? 

Common Home Features From 70 Years Ago

According to housing data, homes built 70 years ago make up about 10% – 14% of those purchased. These homes have several benefits. They can be buildings with strong foundations, and you may find them in established neighborhoods. 

Most 70-year-old houses are of a particular style. Here are the most common types of 70-year-old homes you will find.

Prefabricated Homes

At the end of World War II, the United States suffered from a housing shortage. The response to this was to create a large number of prefabricated homes.

Prefab structures do not include metals, aluminum, and plastics like those built in the 1920s and 1930s. These are houses with durable materials like concrete, wood, and steel.  

Mid-century Modern

The mid-century modern style always comes to mind. This style is a response to a collective need for change. After the war, people wanted new experiences within their homes. Angular walls and ceilings penetrated mid-century structures. And sharp, modern furniture filled their rooms.


The ranch home was the most popular housing style 70 years ago. A ranch house is a single-story dwelling with a low pitch. Ranch homes were easy to build and helped resolve the housing shortage of the time. Ranch homes are notable for their open floor plans that eliminated the formal dining rooms of older homes.


Like the other styles of the times, split-level homes were quick to manufacture. As young families moved into the suburbs, split-level houses were readily available.

Split-level dwellings are homes with three staggered levels, including the main floor, lower area, and higher level. The living room, dining room, and kitchen are on the main floor.

Read More: Does the Age of a House Matter?

Common Problems Found in Old Homes

One of the major disadvantages of buying a 70-year-old home is the number of repairs that go into maintenance. New homes require government standards and expectations in mind.

But older homes do not come with these regulations. Often, 70-year-old houses include health risks and safety hazards. These are some issues in structures that are 70 years old and older.

Cast-iron Drain Lines: Health Concerns

Cast iron drains are in homes built before the 1970s. The problem with this piping is that cast iron corrodes from the inside out. These drain lines have a 50-year lifespan, meaning when you see them in a 70-year-old home, expect to replace them. 

Asbestos: Health Concerns

Asbestos is a common feature of homes built between the 1930s and 1950s. Asbestos is a mineral fiber that causes lung cancer and mesothelioma. Homes built before the 1970s contain a variety of materials made from asbestos. 

Steam pipes wrapped with an asbestos blanket are health risks, as are furnace ducts wrapped with asbestos tape. Floor tiles contain asbestos and so do shingles, roofing, and siding.

Knowing what asbestos is and where to find it eliminates dangers. Homes with asbestos produce health risks, and repairs are costly.

No Insulation: Less Energy Efficient

Homes built 70 years ago do not have the insulation protection of modern homes. Insulation requirements came in 1965, which means your 70-year-old house likely is not insulated.

Energy bills will be high because more energy is required to heat and cool your space. Updating your HVAC system and replacing your windows is costly. Be prepared to expect to spend money to insulate your home. 

The Lifespan of Components and Systems

Foundation65 years
Roof40 to 50 years
HVAC50 years
Electrical50 to 70 years
Plumbing70 years

Benefits of a 70-Year-Old House

There are several benefits to owning an older home. Home repairs are costly and time-consuming, but worth it if you can update your home. A dwelling that is 70 years old brings comfort, history, and relaxation with modern amenities.

Less Expensive

70-year-old houses are less expensive than new homes because repairs are necessary. An older home that is the same size as a new one is less to buy. Older structures save money that can go into repairs and maintenance.

On average, existing houses cost 30% less than new homes. Also, twice as many people prefer buying a new home to an older one. This desirability lowers the cost of older houses. People who purchase new housing do so to cut down on the costs of repairs.

Established Neighborhoods

One perk of buying an older house can be the surrounding neighborhood. Newer homes are in developing areas and suburbs. 70-year-old houses are around schools, places of worship, community businesses, and more.

Established neighborhoods have several benefits. These communities reduce car pollution and traffic congestion. Historic neighborhood homes also utilize original materials that lower waste and decrease landfill pollution. These practices lower pollution and increase the quality of life.

Larger Lots

Another benefit to more lived-in homes is that they come with larger lots of land. New homes are on plots in predetermined areas. These older structures include more land because more land was available at the time of their building.

Older homes also have larger yards that can have more personality. These homes also bring up the price during resale.


Choosing to buy a 70-year-old house is a personal preference. People who seek community, originality, culture, and history find homes from this period appealing. However, these homes include problems and dangers that require money and effort. Know your home’s risk before making your purchase. 

70-year-old houses have a certain charm and sense of history. When repaired and maintained, they are excellent investments for the future. They provide opportunities to anyone who understands their care and needs.

Additional Reading: Are 1970s Houses Built Well?

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