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Is buying a historic home the right choice for you?

historic house

There seems to be a steady stream of home buyers attracted to the character and charms that older and historic homes offer. If you are searching for the romance of a mid-century modern, stately Victorian or even a classic craftsman bungalow, there are some factors you may want to consider before you bid.

Repairs and upkeep can be demanding

When you’re searching for a home to buy in historic and picturesque New Haven County, you’ll discover a wide range of construction styles and periods represented. While most buyers want home that is move-in ready with no costly surprises, the reality of most historic homes isn’t always so simple.

Of course, it’s easy to fall in love with a historic home when you’re house hunting. All that character and charm can be very alluring; just keep in mind the level of commitment required when you take on a historic home. Unless your aim is to buy and restore a neglected older home, be prepared to inherit some issues – pipes that freeze, an aging furnace, attic dwellers of the wildlife species, just to name a few.

House hunters bent on finding that perfect specimen of period architecture that they’ve always dreamed of owning will often stop at nothing to achieve their goal. If time and money are not an issue for you, then by all means find that historic gem you’ve been envisioning for years. Otherwise, a historic home is probably not right for you.

Historic neighborhoods often impose restrictions

Did you know that many beautiful and historic homes throughout America come with rigid protective measures put in place by local historic, planning and zoning commissions that prevent buyers from making any changes (structural or aesthetic) to interior and exterior spaces of homes earmarked for preservation? If you decide you can live with restrictions that may prevent you from making the renovations you want, then you are a perfect candidate to buy a historic home.

Keep in mind, some landmark or historic district officials have an immense amount of control, so any renovations you want to make must first be approved, and can take longer and cost more that renovations in a non-historic home. Before you bid on a historic home, consult an architect and town officials to avoid any surprises.

Replicating architectural features that need replacing can get pricey

One hundred years ago, architects, contractors and home builders built homes using materials of the era that may no longer be available today. If you purchase a home that needs some repairs, you could have trouble finding the wainscoting, picture rails, wall sconces, fireplace mantel, stair bannister and other features common in historic architecture, and hiring craftsmen to replicate elements can be even more expensive than trying to find original replacements.

Almost everyone will stop to admire a stately Victorian mansion built 120 years ago, and more than likely if it’s in less-than-perfect condition, the price is going to be low enough to tempt home buyers drawn to the romance of the era. If you have set your heart on purchasing a historic home, we don’t blame you one bit. Just make sure you approach the house hunting process knowing what you may be getting into.

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