There is nothing like the grace and charm of a historic home. The craftsmanship and detail that went into these older homes is second to none and can provide a great deal of enjoyment as a homeowner. From the ancient polished wood floors, the extensive trim molding, unique arches, weathered brick, classical look and more there is a lot to love about older homes.
Many times when starting with buyers who want a lot of those unique features in a home they can become discouraged by the many pitfalls and maintenance issues that come with historic homes. Buyers can walk into an older home wide eyed and gawking at the beauty of the home but when it comes time to sign the paperwork they can be deterred. Before you start down the path of buying a historic home lets look at the pros and cons of them to help make the decision prior to starting the home search.
- The beauty of the home. Like we mentioned before historic homes look great. Which is why they are preserved as historic. There is a certain style and design aesthetic in a lot of these homes that is very costly to re-create in a new home today.
- Pride in preservation. Many homeowners truly do take pride in maintaining the character and original design of a home that has been designated historic.
- Central location. By virtue of being some of the first homes in a community historic homes tend to be near urban centers and on some of the city’s more desirable land. Many time these areas are walkable with commercial businesses, parks, restaurants and schools all within walking distance.
- Larger lots. Lot sizes on older homes tend to be larger than what a new construction home would et you in today’s market.
- Sweat equity. Depending on the condition of the home you could be finding a pretty good deal. If a home needs lots of updating you could build equity in the home by doing the renovations yourself.
- Maintenance woes. With older homes come older systems. And many of them were installed using different methods than what is typical in today’s homes. Either you’ll need to be handy to take care of these items or work with tradesmen who are familiar with older homes.
- Efficiency. Even with updating these older homes will not have the same efficiencies as a newer home. You can expect to pay more in utilities on an older home.
- Strict architectural standards. Almost all historic neighborhoods have guidelines that will limit how you can change and modify the home. You want to add an attached garage? If they historic commission allows it still may be costly to match the look and design of the original home. Check with your local historic preservation guidelines to be sure.
- Financing challenges. When purchasing a historic home you may have to go with a conventional loan. Many times FHA and VA loans can be too stringent for the condition of these older homes. Check with your lender or Realtor to understand the pitfalls that will limit financing on a home.
- Updating. Where you might be able to build sweat equity by making some improvements to a home it might not be for you. If you dread living through a renovation or just want a move-in ready house then a historic home may provide challenges.
We love historic homes! But they are a labor of love. Make sure you take all the factors into account before deciding to purchase a wonderful historic home.
Happy House Hunting!