Items to Consider When Buying a Home with Historic Value

Graham & Kelly Levine March 14, 2012

Have you thought about buying a historic home? Maybe you have entertained the idea of owning your own bed and breakfast or just find the architectural aspects of such homes intriguing. Perhaps you have inherited a beautiful home that has not been restored. Historic homes have much to offer, and typically much to repair. Before you make a decision and find yourself overwhelmed and committed to a restoration project, take a step back and consider this article. As you consider it you may feel 100% prepared to move forward, however even if not, you will appreciate the time you took to hesitate.  You may find that the home you have chosen is not the best fit for you and find a different and even better home.  If you are considering a historic home purchase or just trying to decide if you should begin making changes in your current home, the following tips may help you feel confident in your choice. First, consider the structure of your historic home or hire an inspector or licensed contractor to do so. Make sure a complete and thorough examination is done. Water damage or dry rot to the framing and foundation could end up resulting in a very labor and cost intensive project. It is much less devastating to walk away from your potential new home paying only the inspection bill than it is to buy a home in need of repairs that exceed your budget.  Prior to initiating repairs, consider the historic value and materials used in the original construction of the home, and then proceed with like materials. Provided you have the resources, all repairs should be considered as “restorative” and use original materials. If you will be living in the home, evaluate whether your “new” home will meet the current needs of your family. Often smaller rooms and less bathrooms are typical in historic homes, however you can choose to remove walls and windows or adapt them to create a better suited floor plan, while still maintaining the original intent of the initial homebuilder. Some of these issues may seem more difficult to solve, and may even cause unexpected emotions to flare depending on the importance to the parties involved, when discussing home features. In such situations, it may be wise to evaluate all alternatives and work out a compromise or other option prior to doing the work. Historic homes can be quite beautiful and definitely worth the expense and love required to restore them. Your finished project will bring a smile to your eyes and warm the hearts of others who visit your home in the years that follow.  Most importantly, though, you will be happy with your decision to purchase and restore your home, knowing you did your homework first.

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