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The Pros and Cons of Buying a Historic Home

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From its quirky features to its unique charm, there’s plenty to love about a historic home. For those thinking of purchasing one, there’s also plenty to consider. As anyone who’s watched HGTV can tell you, owning a historic home often comes with its own set of benefits and challenges. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of buying a historic home.


  • They offer plenty of character and charm – Stepping inside a historic home is a bit like stepping back in time. From the ornate fireplaces and antique door knockers to the intricate crown molding and vintage built-ins, there are so many fun details to love about an old home. It may even take months (or years) before you notice them all.

  • They are packed with history – In addition to the charming characteristics, a historic home houses its own interesting history. Within the home’s walls have lived dozens of owners – all with their own unique stories. If you’re a history buff or someone who loves the idea of a house having “good karma,” you will love living in a historic home.

  • You are helping to keep this history alive – By purchasing a historic home, you are helping to keep history alive. Over time, you’re sure to keep up with the home’s necessary repairs and needed updates. You may even add on to the home or renovate its interior. When you make the home your own while preserving it at the same time, you’re breathing new life into a historic treasure.

  • They come in a wide range of stunning architectural styles – If a cookie cutter home isn’t for you, you’ll enjoy living in a house with a distinct old-world style. Historic homes are often constructed in stunning architectural styles, including Mid-century, Georgian, Colonial, Federal, Victorian, Spanish and more.

  • You may get financial benefits – According to, if you’re thinking of buying a historic home “state and local governments may offer you tax incentives or lower interest loans to restore these historical homes or just to purchase and preserve them.” Additionally, given that many historic districts require homeowners to keep houses looking a certain way, there’s a greater likelihood that the neighborhood’s property value won’t drop (think: the neighbors won’t be allowed to construct an absurdly ugly add-on to their house.).


  • Historic homes often require a lot of work – If you’re buying a historic home, you better have a toolkit ready. Given that most historic homes are at least 50 years old, they’re going to require a lot of work. From water damage and electrical issues to structural problems and termite damage, historic homes that haven’t been properly preserved will most certainly fall into disrepair. If you decide to take on this kind of historic home, just make sure you have the finances to restore the property.

  • Designated historic districts come with strict rules – Perhaps the biggest con to owning a historic home is that owners must adhere to strict rules and guidelines laid out by local laws. That means owners may not be able to change or add-on to their home without the permission of the city. Having to cut through this extra red tape just to change a home’s exterior is the reason why many choose not to move to a historic home. To find out the specific rules of a designated historic district in your town, I recommend contacting your city’s development office.

  • There may be mismatched renovations and updates – If multiple families have lived in a historic home over the course of 50 to 100 years (or more), you can only imagine how many changes have been made to the house. From kitchen renovations to home additions, there’s a good chance at least some of the updates don’t match. Especially if the repairs were made in different decades (think: a 60’s style kitchen with an 80s style bathroom).

  • Your insurance may be expensive – Hate to break it to you – but if you’re buying a historic home, your insurance could sky rocket. According to, “many personal insurance companies don’t offer the type of coverage you’ll need to insure your home, meaning you often have to go with historic property insurance, which can be more expensive.” Additionally, an older home with structural issues (i.e. an old roof or outdated building materials) means your insurance rates could be higher.

  • You may have unwanted surprises – Think: asbestos, mold or termites (oh my!). To avoid purchasing a home with these issues, have an experienced and reliable home inspector thoroughly inspect the home first. Chances are, historic homes that haven’t been properly preserved aren’t up to code. Unless you’re willing to take on a project, you’ll need to ensure that the historic home is a safe place to live (at the very least!).

How to know if your home is “historic”

What’s the difference between an old house and a historic house? The National Registry of Historic Places, managed by the National Park Service. It’s this official list that differentiates an old home from a historic home. Historic homes have been officially registered and designated as “historic” due to their age, architectural style and/or overall significance. When house hunting, make sure to ask your Realtor whether or not you’re looking in a designated historic neighborhood. As mentioned above, these districts often come with certain rules about what you can and cannot do to the outside of a house in that neighborhood. While this helps maintain the neighborhood’s overall look and appeal, many homeowners find the rules to be restrictive.

Should you buy a historic home?

Before buying a historic home, be sure to weigh the pros and cons mentioned above. If the joys of owning a historic home filled with its own history, charm and character outweighs the pain of possible repairs, high insurance rates and strict rules – then you have your answer. While historic homes are often considered “high maintenance,” owners will tell you that they are well-worth the extra time and effort required.

Ready to move?

If you decide you’re ready to take on a historic home, you’ll need the right movers to get you there. Fortunately,’s extensive network of reputable and reliable movers makes it easy to find and book the best moving company for the job. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your move will be in good hands.

Source: White, Marian. "The Pros and Cons of Buying a Historic Home.", Web. 15 November 2017.

And when you're ready to put in an offer and sell your current home, call One Realty Group! Or if you're looking for that special, historical or craftsman home, let us do the shopping for you! Don't hesitate to give us a call anytime! One Realty Group: 1.800.257.6021


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