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3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Historic Home
Are you old house hunting? Brush up on these musts before you make your offer.
It’s hard to beat the allure of a historical home as a cottage lover. The detailed architecture, the romance of the home’s story–who wouldn’t want live in a home steeped in so much history? But don’t overlook the unique needs of an older home. Historical homes are not as easy to maintain as newer homes,... Keep Scrolling
Written by Amelia Carroll


It’s hard to beat the allure of a historical home as a cottage lover. The detailed architecture, the romance of the home’s story–who wouldn’t want live in a home steeped in so much history? But don’t overlook the unique needs of an older home. Historical homes are not as easy to maintain as newer homes, and this can often lead to more expenses than you originally thought. Here are three things to consider before buying a historic home.

A blue victorian-style home.
Historic homes can be a difficult to maintain, so make sure you keep these three factors in mind before you buy.

Renovations

Many historic neighborhoods or districts have restrictions on renovations of older homes. These are in place to protect the unique architectural elements of historic home and can prevent historic neighborhoods from being overrun by McMansions. Sometimes these restrictions are just to the façade of the home. Other times they extend to the interior as well. So if you plan to do any modernizing, make sure to consult town officials, as well as an architect, first.

historic cape cod exterior
Older properties often suffer from overgrown landscaping as well. Sometimes to let a historic gem truly shine, you have to undertake an landscaping makeover, too. Keep this in mind when you formulate your budget. Photo by Mark Tanner

Repairs

Even if you don’t want to remodel the home, you will have to repair it. Outdated electric and plumbing systems often hide inside the beautiful walls of a historic home and they can cause trouble if you don’t tend to them first. These repairs, besides being an inconvenience, can also be expensive. Buying a historic home doesn’t come without sacrifice, and if you want to live in one, be prepared to fix these problems as they arise.

farmhouse style home
Paint is a great way to revitalize a neglected historic exterior. Photo by Eric Striffler

Recreating Period Style

The most frustrating part of remodeling a historic home can lie in the difficulty in finding period-appropriate parts. Often, the materials originally used to construct these homes are no longer in use, so it can be expensive to find either original materials, or replicas of them. The good news is there are companies that can specialize these materials (House of Hardware, Rejuvenation and Schoolhouse Electric are some of our faves.) Researching historic parts can be fun if you enjoy the thrill of the hunt! But be prepared for the time needed to source authentic materials and parts.

living room of a spanish colonial cottage
Lisa Blackburn meticulously maintains her historic Spanish Colonial cottage in Orange, California. If you aren’t lucky enough to inherit an original fireplace, do some research and try to find a suitable period style design that will fit the rest of the house. Photo by Mark Tanner.

If you are prepared for the expenses and work that go into owning a historic home, then go ahead and make that offer! Restoring and owning a historic home is rewarding and knowing you’ve been a part of saving an old home from disrepair can be the best feeling!

Check out the original article here for more details on buying a historic home.

For more information on historic districts, check out this article on the National Register of Historic Places. For tips on how to recreate a historic kitchen, click here.

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