June 5, 2015

Are you prepared to be an historic homeowner?

There’s much to admire about owning an historic home. You probably don’t need to be sold
(WT-shared) Jtesla16 at wts wikivoyage
via Wikimedia Commons
on the beauty of a grand old house, and in all likelihood the home is in an established neighborhood or district where prices are projected to appreciate at a better clip than other areas. Plus, if it’s truly classified as an historic home, and not simply an old house, you probably can take advantage of tax breaks other owners might not enjoy.

But before you fall in love with the gleam of summer light cascading through a century-old stained glass window, pause and consider what you’re really in for when you buy an historic home.


1. Lead, asbestos, and other buried “treasure.” Pipes and paint can be lead culprits while asbestos in basements, attics, and walls may be lurking. Also, it’s not uncommon for there to be abandoned septic tanks, cesspools, wells, or even heating oil reservoirs buried somewhere on the property. Remediation and removal can run into the thousands, should you decide to go that route.

2. Renovation restrictions. A truly historic home may be ineligible for certain renovations depending on preservation guidelines. Ownership of an historic home does not give you carte blanche to make changes, especially to the exterior of the property.

3. Wiring and plumbing problems. If the electrical system in the house hasn’t been upgraded, you might find yourself facing problems if you want to add significant appliances or other major power loads to the system. Older plumbing can also prevent formidable repair jobs as well.

4. Authenticity is expensive. The materials you’ll need to repair or restore original fixtures, windows, or other aesthetic components of the house can ad up quickly. While you may be investing in quality materials to keep the home in line with its original construction, it may not be an investment with a guaranteed return.

Perhaps you’re prepared for everything an historic home has to offer, both good and bad, but if you haven’t thought it through yet, these are some handy challenges to keep in mind. If you’re exploring historic homes, be sure to ask the current owners about all of these issues (and if/when they’ve dealt with them).

If you’d like to look at historic homes or think perhaps it’s time to consider something a bit newer, let me help you find just the right house: ScatesRealtyInvestments.com