What to Think about Before Buying a Century Home?

After looking at a sea of newer builds, each one identical to the last, a century home stands out. Its distinctive red brick and gingerbread trim look nothing like the usual cookie-cutter bungalow. Between the hardwood floors, antique molding and trim, and stained-glass windows, historic homes have a charm you can’t resist.

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But before you put in an offer, you need to know what you’re getting into with a century home. Older homes are prone to wear and tear, even if you’re buying a recently renovated one. 

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Here are three things you should know before buying a historic home.

1. Maintenance and Repairs

Older homes are generally well-built, but they need some TLC to function properly throughout the years. Most homeowners can expect to put one to four percent of the home’s value into upkeep each year, but your century home may require a bigger investment. 

The older your home is, the bigger your maintenance projects may wind up being. Depending on the age and quality of the building, you might have to tackle big jobs like replacing the furnace, rehabbing out-of-code electrical and plumbing, or redoing the roof. 

2. Old Homes Used Asbestos

What would be a small remodelling project in a new build can be anything but in a century home if it reveals asbestos in the walls, around pipes, or in your roof. Asbestos was commonly used as insulation up until the 1970s. 

Normally, asbestos in the home isn’t dangerous, but it can become a health hazard once you disturb it. That means you can’t ignore the problem until you hire a team to remove the asbestos safely.

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According to Home Advisors, the average cost to remove asbestos is $2,000. This bill can seriously throw off your budget, so it’s a good idea to have a cushion of savings before you start any job in case you run into surprises.

What if your cushion isn’t enough? In emergencies, you may find an installment loan online to cover this unexpected repair. 

Although you can find these loans from anywhere around the world, make sure you stick with a local lender. For example, if you live in a Colonial Revival-style house popular in Mississippi, search for online installment loans in Mississippi. The best Mississippi installment loans are available even if you have bad credit. 

3. Understand Renovation Restrictions

So far, this guide has discussed the essential repairs you need to make to a century home. But what about all the fun side projects you dream up, like putting in an ensuite bathroom in the master bedroom, joining the kitchen and living room in an open floor plan, or finishing the basement? 

You might never get around to them if you own a historic home, deemed by the National Register of Historic Places to be “architecturally significant.” Its designation protects it from special renovation projects that would significantly alter the look and structure of the building.

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This means any renovation plan may have to be approved by a committee before you can take the first swing of a sledgehammer. The approval process could take months, and there’s a chance they say no. 

Bottom Line

A century home comes with upkeep as unique as its old wavy glass and wood fireplace. Keep this in mind as you shop around for houses. Being informed can help you choose the best piece of property for your needs. 


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