Common Code Violations Found in Older Homes

When looking at older houses that appear to be good candidates for buying and flipping, real estate investors have to be careful. After all, you’re going to be doing home repairs or having them done on your behalf. As such, you need to be aware of the different common code violations that are frequently discovered in these older buildings. Throughout this article, we’ll show you five of the usual suspects for code violations that you can expect to run into while getting your new house ready for market.

Lack of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

The first issue that people find when buying older homes to flip is that they don’t have the necessary ground fault circuit interrupters, often called GFCIs. These are often necessary for outlets in places where moisture is common, such as kitchens and bathrooms, so as to prevent electric shocks. When a surge of electricity trips the GFCI, the electrical current is shut off and a person avoids a potential injury. It’s important to double-check for these outlets when buying a home.

Asbestos in the Home

Asbestos was a common building material in homes built before the 1970s. If you’re buying an older home, you need to be on the lookout for asbestos because it has been found to be a very harmful material that must be removed. Although it’s not difficult to get a home tested for the presence of asbestos, it can be rather expensive to remove from the home because of all the necessary safety precautions needed to ensure the process is safely completed.

Deck Safety

The 1980s and 1990s were a time when people built a lot of decks onto their home. The most common issue that people have when buying homes from this era is that the guardrails on the deck have to fall in line with modern building codes. Essentially, the guard rail has to be a minimum of 36 inches in height for any deck that is 30 inches above grade. It’s a simple fix, but it’s one that inspectors love to check, so make sure your deck falls in line.

Peeling Lead Paint

Although it has been outlawed for years, lead paint is still an issue in older properties. Since peeling lead paint is one of the most common causes of child lead poisoning, it’s absolutely crucial to take care of this code violation before buying a home. Like asbestos, there are certain measures that must be taken to properly dispose of lead paint, but it is worth getting a contractor to take care of it so you can confidently sell the home.

Lack of Egress Windows for Living Spaces

As more and more adults moved back in with their parents, there has been a frenzy of basement conversions taking place. What was once an unfinished basement is now a bedroom and living space. The only problem is that these are often done without the proper permits and without the required egress windows. If you’re going to buy an older home with a living space in the basement, you need to have an egress window for emergencies and make sure that no other code violations are present.


As you can see, there are several different code violations that can cause setbacks and unneeded expenses when you’re buying an investment property. We’ve looked at a lack of GFCIs, the presence of asbestos, deck safety features, peeling lead paint, and DIY projects like basement renovation. While it can be difficult and time-consuming to update these elements in a home, you’ll need them fixed in order to sell the house without issues.