Historic homes have a type of appeal that will prove irresistible for many buyers, and it’s often too easy to be captivated by their charms. There’s a certain pride in knowing that you own a tangible part of the past, with the kind of artisan-level construction and workmanship that you won’t find in newer homes anymore.
However, these types of homes tend to have complications that typical homes don’t give. So before taking the plunge and buying that historic property, here are some pros and cons to consider according to Atlanta’s top real estate agents:
- Construction. There’s something to be said for the beauty of older construction, and a historic home often appeals to buyers who will appreciate the excellent craftsmanship and gorgeous woodworking, along with other exquisite detailing and features like pocket doors or stained glass windows.This type of skilled workmanship is rarely seen in homes of today, and quite often the architecture and aesthetic beauty of a historic home that has withstood the test of time becomes a magnet for many homebuyers.
- Neighborhood. Chances are the historic home you’ve been eyeing is located in a neighborhood with mature landscaping and little new construction. Since the home is considered a historical structure, major changes going on in the neighborhood that might affect the house will have to go through a review board, and you’ll generally be given some input on these changes.
- Tax breaks. There are numerous tax breaks for owners of historic homes to make it easier for them to bear the upkeep or take on renovation projects. These tax incentives can take the form of tax credits or lower interest loans for preserving and restoring historic structures.
You need to qualify for these tax abatements, and even though the amounts won’t make you wealthy, they’re still benefits that you don’t get when buying a new house. Check out the:
- Return on investment. When it comes to property values, historic districts fare better than other areas. The rise in values in a historic district tends to outpace the rest of the market.
- Renovation limitations. Since historic homes are all about preservation of the property, you won’t always be able to make renovations, particularly on the exteriors. For example, if you’re thinking about putting in a patio, that might be prohibited in the preservation guidelines. Get a copy of the guidelines before starting anything.
- Utility problems. It’s not unusual for older homes to have wells, cesspools, septic tanks, etc. under the lawn, so watch out for those. Some historic homes also have dated plumbing or electrical systems, so you will want to factor in how much it will cost to overhaul it.
- Toxic materials. Some older homes may still have lead and asbestos, which are toxic and can lead to health problems. Make sure to have the property thoroughly inspected.
- Expensive replacements. If something in your home is custom-made or older than 50 years – like wrought iron detailing or chandelier glass elements – chances are, it will be more expensive to replace.
When doing renovations on a historic home, there’s always a chance that you will run into some unexpected problems that will involve additional money. You can prevent this by simply budgeting extra money for each renovation, so even if you encounter problems that really drive up the cost, it won’t be that much of a problem because you’re financially prepared.
Overall, buying a historic home is not without its share of problems. You will end up with something unique and one-of-a-kind and, ultimately, it isn’t really about how much it costs, but about how much you value it.