What to Expect When Purchasing a Historic Home

Ed Greable Blogger May 10, 2019

Are you interested in purchasing a historic home? While some buyers are most interested in finding a new, modern home that is move-in ready, others are more interested in purchasing an older home that offers its own sense of charm and character. When searching for a home in the Boston area, you will certainly find that both types of homes are available. Given the rich history of the area, however, older homes are in abundance. Before you purchase a historic home, it is a good idea to learn more about what this type of home entails and how you can properly care for the home.

Considering Restrictions

While many towns and neighborhoods have zoning and planning commissions that impose regulations on the homes within them, homes located in historic neighborhoods are generally restricted to further regulation. This is because the commissions are trying to preserve and protect the homes as well as the neighborhoods. This means renovating and altering a historic home can be tricky. This is particularly true when it comes to making changes to the building’s façade.

Since making changes to a historic home will require obtaining a whole series of approvals, you may find that you cannot make the renovations that you desire. Even if you are approved to make the changes, it may take quite some time to get the necessary approvals. In addition, it may cost more to make the changes because you have to complete them in a specific fashion as approved by the commission. Therefore, if you plan to make renovations to a historic home, you should consult with an architect and with town officials before making a purchase.

Considering Costs

Recreating the architecture found within a historic home can be a costly endeavor. Victorian-era homes, for example, were often constructed in the mid to late 19th century with materials that are no longer in use. Finding the proper picture rails, wainscoting, crown molding and ornate features that are found in Victorian architecture can be difficult and costly. While architectural salvage companies can often track these things down, it often comes at quite the cost.

The same is true when it comes to maintaining your historic home. For example, your historic home may have older or outdated technology. If allowable, you may be able to update these systems. Depending upon the regulations that govern the property, however, you may not be able to make these upgrades. In this case, you will have to be prepared to deal with maintenance issues as they arise. Not only are they more likely to develop in an older home, but making the necessary repairs can become a costly ongoing expense.

Of course, if you are a history buff or you simply love older, historic homes, the time and money commitment may be worthwhile to you. If you are not passionate about historic homes, however, you may be better suited to purchasing a newer home or perhaps an older home that has not been designated as historic.

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