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Are You the Right Owner for an Old House?

An old house can be tempting to prospective homeowners. Older homes were built with quality materials that withstood the test of time, and the neglected ones have so much potential. However, old houses are not for everyone. Do you make the cut?

Will it be a bargain in the long run? At some point during a deep renovation of an old house involving serious plumbing, wiring and structural work, it may occur to you that you could have bought a brand new house for the same amount of money. If the prospect of tearing it all up and making it your own is attractive, even if it drives you batty, then an old house is for you—and you might come out ahead of the game. Advice: hire an experienced home inspector before you sign.

Can you live with the eccentric side of a house with “character”? Old house character sets it apart from modern homes that look like they came off a factory conveyor belt. But face it; your home has had multiple former owners, all of whom improvised a repair or two, compounding your frustration at every corner. Blame those former dwellers if it makes you feel better, but, inevitably, you will improvise a repair that is certain to make the next owner just as upset with you (consider it retribution).

Are you a creative thinker, an engineer, or rich enough to employ one? If you value energy efficiency, you will have to think outside the box to dress your old home’s structure to modern comforts while maintaining the integrity of your home’s character. Some features of your home will require custom work, because nobody manufactures that anymore. Check yes if these possibilities make you happy.

Are you in love with history? Every old house has a history. All you have to do is pull up a floor or tear down a wall and you’ll see vestiges of the past, whether it’s an odd trinket or evidence of old construction methods (horsehair plaster and heart pine so rich you can make furniture from torn-out studs). A deep love for restoring history qualifies you as the ideal owner of a home listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but be advised that your hands will be tied in what you can do with design, structure, and décor.

Do you love the idea of pouring yourself into an old house? Are you passionate about restoring an older home and living within walls that breathe history? If so, you are the perfect candidate to own and renovate an old house.

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