Buying a Historic Home? Consider These Pros and Cons Before You Buy

A historic home offers charm and potential issues to consider

historic home surrounded by trees


Lani Redinger


Jan 21, 2021

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As you begin shopping for a new home, you’ll need to decide the style of home you prefer- modern, traditional, Cape Cod, ranch, Victorian, Midcentury, their are homes for every taste and lifestyle. With a great real estate agent, they will go out of their way to help you find exactly what you are looking for.

There is a great appeal to owning and living in a historic home, but it’s important to also consider the potential negatives to owning such a home. For some the charm, character, and living in a piece of history easily outweighs the potential issues. We’ve compiled an overview of the potential pros and cons of buying a historic home.

Pros to Owning a Historic Home

Living in a piece of history

  • Character and charm Many historic homes are filled with plenty of charm and character in every nook and cranny. You often feel like you’re stepping back in time when you enter. From ornate moldings, beautiful decorative fireplaces, and stunning built ins, it’s often said they don’t make homes like they used too. You’ll often find quality craftsmanship, with sturdy materials that have withstood the test of time.
  • History Not only are they filled with history, but you’re helping keep that history alive and contribute to it. For history buffs this is certainly an attractive appeal. Dozens of families have made their home within these walls, and you family can join in shaping this home’s history. You may even add your own touches and improvements to make your own mark on this home and its history.
  • Range of Styles and Tastes There are so many unique, distinctive historic home styles to explore. Speaking to their character, many feel a historic home is much less cookie cutter than the homes of today. The stunning architectural styles include Georgian, Federal, Colonial, Midcentury, Victorian, Spanish and more. Each of these style have distinctive features and their own personalities.
  • Possible Financial Benefits Be sure to research any local and state government tax incentives or lower interest loans you may be eligible for to preserve or restore the home. You’ll also be less likely to see the neighborhood property value drop as many historic districts require homeowners to maintain their homes a certain way.
Farm house in need of repair
Fixer upper historic homes can present some potential pitfalls

Cons of Owning a Historic Home

Work, rules, and surprises

  • Historic homes may require a lot of work With historic homes being at least 50 years old, there are likely many repairs that may need done, or will need done in the future. You may find electrical issues, dated plumbing or electric, water damage, termites, even structural problems. You may need to invest a lot of money if bring the home up to code, or up to modern standards, which can be even more costly when trying to preserve its history. Have your toolbelt and checkbook ready.
  • Strict Rules for Designated historic districts One of the biggest potential snags in owning a historic home is the very strict rules and regulations if it resides in a historic district. There’s a lot of potential red tape to make any changes to your home especially the exterior. Be sure to contact the city’s development office before purchasing a historic home so you completely understand your local laws.
  • Mismatched Renovations Over the course of 50 to 100 years, the home may have endured many renovations, possibly decades apart, think 60’s kitchen and 80’s bathrooms. If continuity is important to you, it may take some extra investment to get everything uniform.
  • Expensive Insurance Many traditional insurance companies cannot provide the coverage you’ll need to insure a historic home, and you’ll need to find historic property insurance, which is typical more expensive. If the older home has any existing structural issues, this could also cause your insurance to skyrocket.
  • Unwanted Surprises While are are some pleasant surprises in a historic home, like finding lovely nooks filled with charming design, there is also the chance for some unwanted surprises. Issues like mold, asbestos, termites, and more can all be a hassle to address. There’s also a chance if it hasn’t been well preserved, many thing won’t be to code. Be sure you have a highly qualified inspector do a very thorough inspection to attempt to avoid this issues.

Now you can start your search for a new home better informed on how historic of a home you are willing to buy. If you’re seeking a historic home in Ohio be sure to check out HER, REALTORS® current available homes.

April 20, 2019
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