Homeowner Resources June 30, 2020

Restorations & Renovations of Historic Homes: 6 Things to Keep in Mind before Getting Started

Home renovations are always a big project to take on. It can be even more overwhelming when you’re dealing with restoring an older house. Despite the possible stress and cost, restoring an older home can still be one of the most rewarding things you do. You can avoid a lot of headaches by doing it right the first time. To help you plan ahead and steer clear of common mishaps, keep these following tips in mind.

Assemble a Team to Help You

A contractor and inspector can be an extreme help as they can get an estimate of the work that needs to be done and give you an idea of what cost the project will be overall. Above all, make sure everyone on the team is on the same page and has the same shared goal when restoring the property.

Be Smart about the Investment

Whether you’re planning to sell or live in a historic home it is still important to think about resale value. Be sure to research what similar renovations in your neighborhood have sold for, then let this structure your budget going forward.

Start with the Big Stuff

Focus on the most pressing issues first, rather than the projects you think will be most enjoyable. It’s tempting to jump straight into the fun things and start picking out paint swatches and kitchen cabinets but the first stage of your renovation should be dedicated to the practical rather than the aesthetic. Start with larger and likely the more expensive tasks that need attending to such as the roof, windows and foundation work. The primary thing to focus on in a restoration is anything that could cause further damage down the line such as leaks in the plumbing. Taking this approach will also help you keep to a budget better as you won’t blow your cash on superfluous luxury items and get blindsided by vitally needed repairs

Technology can be your Friend

No really. Many shun the thought of installing updated cooling or electrical systems into a historic home. Technology can actually be beneficial to a restoration. For instance, you can break down a mechanical system into smaller parts and feed the floors through the attic and/or basement, to minimize damage to the structure of the house, with what is called a “split system.”

Get an Inspection

Have an inspector come and check the property out. The big things to look out for, among others, would be mechanical systems (electricity, plumbing, heating, etc), structural support, and water damage.

Property Quirks can be Charming

Leveling out uneven floors can be an expensive and time consuming endeavor. It could save you a lot of trouble to just incorporate it into the design scheme of the house. Houses built before the 1800’s in addition to deteriorating with age, were built before modern technology and standards came into use. This is part of the allure of owning an older house, the small imperfections can make it unique and might even be what attracted you to it in the first place. Obviously there are some structural issues that can’t be ignored but if it is not a dire issue just let some of the houses quirks shine through on their own.