In many areas of the country, houses are old… really old. While our friends in Europe might scoff at a mere 100+ years, that’s still a very long time for a building, especially in our constant-upgrade society. Many homebuyers may have a strong preference for new (or at least new-er) houses, with a focus on modern design and conveniences, but homebuyers shouldn’t write old homes off. Old houses have a lot going for them.
Isn’t that the first rule of real estate? Many of the greatest locations, from big city neighborhoods to picturesque small towns are old. New construction is common across the country, but a lot of ideal places are already established, and may have been established more than a hundred years ago. After all, if people wanted to live there in the 1800-1900s, and took the time to build great homes, chances are that those great homes are still there, and people still want them. These old neighborhoods often gain more popularity with time, as the historical prestige accumulates and invested homeowners work to preserve and enhance their neighborhood’s value.
On the other side, many less than ideal big-city areas or ‘sleepy’ small-towns are also old – populations and popularity can change a lot over time. Finding a new housing option in many areas may be difficult, if not financially impossible. Some areas lack of open lots; some areas just don’t have the new construction infrastructure; whatever the reason, getting the right location to live might make old your best or only option.
There’s just no comparison for the feel of an old home. The character, the history, the styling, the soul – call it what you will – new homes just can’t match it. Old homes can be beautiful, even in disrepair. Like a beautiful old woman, people rave about the good “bones “of a place: they can see and appreciate what it was, and will work to restore the structure to its former glory. Many homeowners are attracted to the story of their home: the saga of construction and former owners that make them feel a special relationship to the past, especially homes with a unique historical significance or family connection.
They just don’t build things the way they used to – and that’s a fact! It’s not just about style; it’s about craftsmanship and materials. Homes used to be built from hardwoods, contain custom detailing, and boast unique floor plans and amenities rarely seen in modern construction. Old 2x4s were once tested and found to have twice the strength of the fast-growing soft southern pines standardly used today. Plaster and carved wood moldings, punched tin ceiling tiles, leaded glass windows and chandeliers, intricate and beautifully aged hardwood flooring; the list of unique quality features goes on and on.
Old homes have a history, but they aren’t locked in the past. Many have been lovingly maintained close to the original design with discrete modern upgrades, while others have been completely modernized inside the homes’ “good bones.” Even a less than well maintained old home can be fabulously renovated to almost any taste, preference, style, or need.
Don’t get caught up in the newer is better mentality. You could find your bliss in a great old home.
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About Geoff Thompson — Geoff Thompson is an Owner and Founding Partner of Colibri Real Estate, LLC. which operates online education providers Colibri Real Estate, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.