Issues that can occur when restoring a historic home

Few things can provoke the same emotional mixture of excitement, anticipation and trepidation as buying a new home. After all, it is by far the biggest investment that many people are ever likely to make, and your home is more than just a roof over your head. It defines who you are and is the place where life is lived and memories are made.

It is a big enough deal with a new property, but if you decide to buy a historic home and restore it, then the emotional factors are doubled. Here is an opportunity to really create something unique and special. However, there are also plenty of elephant traps for the unwary.

 Here are some of the main issues that can arise as well as advice on negotiating the obstacles and concluding the project on budget so that you can enjoy the historic home of your dreams.

Look before you leap

There is always a degree of emotion attached to a real estate purchase, and rightly so. With an older property, it is even more common for the heart to rule the head. Put simply, it is very easy to fall in love with a place and see only its potential – after all, everyone knows that love can be blind.

It is easily said, but try to remain as pragmatic as possible. Keep your business head on, and get some expert advice on how much that you will need to invest in the place – then double it, and you will be close to an accurate number!

 Also, speak to an insurer before you commit to a purchase. Some companies can have special requirements or exclusions regarding old properties, so check the home warranty options with a telephone call or by visiting a site such as at the earliest opportunity. This way, you will know that whatever happens, you have cover in place.

Check the rules

 Everyone is bound by building codes when performing certain renovations, but if your home is an historic one, then you could face even more bureaucracy than you thought. Owning a home that is formally recognized by your district as being of historic significance sounds fantastic, but it means that you have an obligation to maintain the character of the property, and that severely restricts the changes that you can make.

The exact rules vary from one district to another, but typically, you will be prohibited from extending the property, and you will be expected to keep the roof, windows and walls in their original state – or if they are beyond repair, to replace them with as close to identical structures as possible.

Water, water everywhere?

One of the biggest issues that you can face with an old property renovation is dampness. Water can get into the smallest places, and as well as causing significant damage, it can be a challenge to prevent the problem from recurring.

Look high and low. For example, if the property has a cellar, then this is a common place for dampness to rise from the ground, but you should also check the roof for leaks. If you find that there has been water ingress, then it should be relatively simple to put right, but if the leak has been there for some time, then there is no telling how much damage might have been caused to roof joists and ceilings.


Start with the basics

As has been suggested, restoring an ancient home is going to cost more than you thought. So, while it is tempting to go diving in with a new fitted kitchen, take things one step at a time and make sure that the basics are in place first. This means that the walls, roof, windows, doors are sorted out for any dampness issues. Check that the floors and ceilings are in good shape. With these things in order, you have a solid foundation, quite literally, on which you can build.

Love the imperfections

If you love someone, then you probably see what others think of as imperfections as endearing quirks. The same applies to a historic home. If you want something with perfectly flat floors, evenly shaped windows and a 100-percent efficient heating system, then go and buy a modern apartment. The quirks and imperfections are what make a historic home unique, and each tells a story about its long history to anyone who is ready to sit back and listen.

Remember, listen to your heart and head in equal measure, and if they both agree, then dive on in and make that historic property your own. The restoration will be hard, long, expensive work, but it will all be worth it in the end.