A Piece Of The Past — A Handy Guide To Shopping For A Historic Home

Posted on: 29 December 2016

Buying a historic home is a dream come true for many homeowners. Whether you love a particular part of history or are just looking for a home with a story and character, a historic house can be something you'll love forever. But, it has its own unique challenges that modern homes don't. So, before you sign on the dotted line, here's a handy guide to finding the right historic home for you.

Decide on a Budget. First things first, as they say. Before you fall in love with a huge fixer upper, it's vital to know exactly what your home buying and renovation budget is. Historic homes, by their very (old) nature, can come with a lot of restoration and repair bills. Avoid financial problems and unfinished projects by making — and sticking to — a budget for each of the main categories of the historic home buying: initial purchase, repairs, and updates.

Assess Your Motivations. Which historic house is right for your depends partially on why you want to buy one. Are you interested in owning a piece of history? Or do you just want a home with personality? Are you looking for a challenging renovation project or something that's already been updated? How many changes do you want to be able to make to the home and land? And how much are you willing to go through in order to revive the home? The answers to these questions will help you and your real estate agent focus your search on the right types of houses. 

Find a Style. The idea of a "historic home" can be a bit vague and undefined. So, before going out shopping, do some research on the types of historic styles in your chosen area. You may find everything from Victorian to Cape Cod to mid-century modern — all of which are very different homes with their own personalities. Narrow down your search to two or three particular architectural styles, periods, or influences that your real estate agent can work with.

Get Informed. Once you find a historic property that interests you, do plenty of research before becoming too attached. Hire a professional inspector. Do property research through your local city hall or planning office to learn the home's history and any restrictions you'll face. Research the property through historic trust registers or local historic societies. You may want to consult with a specialist, such as an architectural historian or building conservationist to ensure your property is all that it's cracked up to be.

By following these 4 steps, you can figure out what you want in a historic home and how to find the best one for you. And then, you can start making your own history together with your new dream home. For more information, contact local professionals like Celia Dunn Sotheby's International Realty.