Three Questions To Ask Yourself If You're Thinking Of Buying A Historic Home

If you're intrigued by the nostalgic appeal of many older homes on today's real estate market, you've undoubtedly kicked around the idea of purchasing one of your own. Living in a gracious old home can be a wonderful experience, but there are some things you should know before you sign that dotted line. Following are three questioned designed to get you off to a good start in your exploration of whether a historic home is right for you. 

How Your Home Improvement Skills 

A lot of people find the idea of fixing up an older home romantic -- until they actually start doing the work and find out that they're over their heads or that they don't have as much time for household projects as they thought they would. Also, some things that may look easy when you watch them on home improvement television programs are much more difficult in real life, so be sure to be realistic about your skill set, and try to take a few informal test drives if at all possible. For instance, if you've never painted a room before, try to get at least a little experience under your belt before making a financial commitment to a home that's going to need a lot of paint -- ask around among your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances about anyone planning a painting project who'd be willing to let you lend a hand.

Who knows -- you may discover that you've got a penchant for home improvement and begin a satisfying relationship with a gracious old home that needs your love and care to help it thrive. 

Do You Really Love to Garden?

Gardening is a great leisure activity that provides both aesthetic enjoyment and food for the family table. However, older homes also have older yard and garden areas, which can be one of their major selling points -- after all, they'll have mature trees and shrubs, well-established flower and herb gardens, solid hardscaping such as birdbaths, winding garden paths, and statuary. You may find that there's something deeply satisfying in looking after a legacy created by the original owner of the home, especially if they planted fruit trees and berries because these taste better as the trees and bushes get older, and you really can't beat living on a tree-lined street among other historic homes for gracious living.

However, mature trees may require a great deal of care, such as tree-topping on an annual basis to ensure that the trees don't grow into power lines, and they'll need to be trimmed back on a regular basis to make sure they don't overhang your roof. Also, keep in mind that some municipalities require homeowners to pay for the upkeep of the street trees in front of their homes even if the trees aren't technically on their property.

Will Your Furniture and Appliances Fit?

This may sound like an odd question, but appliances and furnishings were generally smaller when these historic homes were built, and your appliances in particular may have a difficult time fitting into their allotted spaces. If you're truly dedicated to creating an authentic home environment, you could use vintage appliances, but they probably won't provide the features most modern people want such as ice makers. Rooms in older homes, particularly bedrooms, tend to be smaller as well, so be sure you're willing to live in a scaled down interior environment. 

Even if you decide that an older home isn't for you after all, that doesn't mean you have to give up living in a place with significant charm and character. Many of today's new homes feature desirable elements of historic architecture such as turrets, gables, wraparound porches, and gingerbread. You may end up having the best of both worlds -- all the old fashioned accents you wanted from a historic home with none of the hassles such as substandard wiring, roofs that need replacing, roofs that need replacing, and insufficient room for your appliances and furnishing. An experienced realtor will be able to guide you through the home purchasing process and help ensure that you end up in the home that suits you best.