What You Need to Know When Buying a Historical Home

There’s something really special about buying a historical home.  They burst at the seams with character and give off the warmth of a house with soul.

Old homes often come with features that you won’t find in newer builds.  Like ornate fireplaces and intricate crown mouldings.

Plus, there’s nothing cookie-cutter about a Mid-Century, Georgian, or Victorian home!

Still, old homes can be daunting for buyers.  There’s always that little voice in the back of one’s head saying “It’s beautiful, but how much will this really cost me?”

Here are some things that you’ll want to consider before buying a historical home:

Designated Historical Sites

Some homes may be protected through Historical Societies.  This can limit what you’re allowed to do when it comes to renovating or changing the exterior appearance of your home.

Even a paint change could require a lot of red tape.  So it’s important to consider this is you aren’t a fan of the outside elevations and design choices of previous owners.

Surprises Behind the Walls

Many old home owners take great pride in the restoration and ownership of their home.  This means that many historical homes are better preserved than some homes that are just a few decades old.

Most surprises can be revealed by a seasoned home inspector (like the state of the roof, insulation, foundation, and wiring).  But, if you’re looking to do a major renovation down the road, you may be in for some surprises behind-the-walls.

That said, the reason historic homes still exist today is that they’re built to last.  Often a home built in the 1800’s will be in better shape than one built in 1990 even!

Insurance

When collecting your insurance quotes for a historic home it’s important to know your options.  Your insurance costs may be up to three times what you expect if it covers rebuilding a home with all of the character features.  

However, many insurance companies let you choose to opt out of that feature and go for a new build replacement instead.  This may substantially reduce your rates.

Financing

Many older homes will finance easily.  However, when the house in in need of extensive repairs, lenders may be hesitant to extend a mortgage.

In these cases, other financing options may be available like private financing or title loans.

Modern Amenities May Not Fit

People lived very differently centuries ago.  Kitchens and baths were small and utilitarian.  Instead, the focus was on living and dining spaces.  This means that modern day features might be difficult to fit inside your character home.

Tax Savings and Programs

Many local governments offer tax incentives and loan programs to those willing to preserve historic homes.  You typically need to qualify for these programs, yet the rewards of lower interest and taxes can be well worth the hassle!

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