While many people prefer to buy a brand-new house loaded with all the latest features and where everything works and is covered by a builder’s warranty, others prefer to buy an older home that has character. However, before you rush out and sign the papers on a historic Victorian-era house, here are three potential problems you need to think about.
1. Many Historic Districts Have Strict Rules
One of the first issues you are likely to run into is that most cities and towns in the U.S. have rules and regulations in place designed to protect historic properties and neighborhoods.
These regulations may require separate permits and can involve a great deal of bureaucracy if you plan to renovate, remodel, or in any way alter the home you are considering buying. For example, if the home is 100 years old, you may find you won’t be allowed to make certain changes. Something you should seriously consider before buying.
2. Restoring a Historic House Can Be Both Challenging and Expensive
Here’s where things start to get interesting. Let’s stick with the Victorian house for now. These homes date back to the mid to late 19th century. This means they were built using methods and materials that are no longer in use or available.
When you buy a Victorian-era home that is not in perfect condition, you never know what you might have to replace. Things like crown molding, wainscoting, picture rails, and many other decorative moldings, carvings, and fixtures can prove to be very expensive to repair. Most of these items can be found in architectural salvage yards (they can take months to find), others will have to be crafted by hand, which can be very expensive. Keep these costs in mind as you think about buying that older home.
3. The Costs for Maintenance and Repairs Can be Astronomical
The average home buyer wants a house that is ready to move into and is not likely to need much in the way of maintenance. They want everything to work, the latest in technology, and minimal risk of things breaking down.
When you plan to buy a historic home, it is very important that you have a maintenance plan in place. Unless you plan to do a complete renovation of the home, you need to be prepared for things to break down, leak, and fall apart at any moment. The best thing you can do is to make sure you have plenty of money stashed away for the costs.
Even the most devoted history buff may not be able to handle the costs and work needed. There are those who will do anything to restore a historic home. Those that do have a serious appreciation for the architecture of the period and are well aware of the costs and work involved in restoring a historic home. If you aren’t prepared to go “all-in” with everything it takes to own and care for this type of home, then you should look for something a little newer.