Pros and Cons of Purchasing an Older Home

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Older homes often draw people in with their unique character and charm. These historic houses are sought after by many people who are looking for something different than the average modern home.

But purchasing something built so long ago isn’t without its flaws. You’ll find some downsides to historic homes, such as increased insurance rates. Homeowners insurance for a 100-year-old house will typically cost more than coverage for a new build. 

If you consider purchasing an older home, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding. 

Pros of Purchasing an Older Home

Factors like insurance rates don’t have to completely defer you if you have your heart set on purchasing a historic home. There are many pros to buying an older house you may not realize.

Older Homes Are Filled With Unique Features

Though there is nothing precisely wrong with modern homes, many tend to lack the unique features older homes contain. Modern homes are often built by a set plan or model, similar to many others.

Historic homes contain unique features such as plaster crown moldings, expertly crafted woodwork, and many built-ins. These features are often hard to come by in modern homes, especially when the craftsmanship to create them has been lost to time. 

You may also find one-of-a-kind touches in an older home, such as glass doorknobs, antique fixtures, and stained glass windows. Though you may add similar items to a more modern home, they may not hold the same value or character as original pieces. 

Stronger Building Materials Were Often Used in Older Homes

Construction companies will build many newer homes to cost themselves as little money as possible. They will often use cheaper materials for doors, cabinets, and flooring.

However, you’ll find much more substantial and sturdier building materials in an older home. Things like doors and cabinets will often be built from thick, solid wood rather than solid-core or hollow-core materials.

While you can still find solid wood doors or cabinets for purchase, they tend to be extremely expensive. And they likely won’t be included in more modern homes. You’ll have to purchase and replace your existing materials.

However, they are typically standard in historic homes, costing you no extra money. Unless the previous residents went through and replaced all the doors and cabinets, you’ll likely find robust and sturdy wood throughout an older home.  

Older Homes Offer Location Advantages

Most modern homes will sit in a suburb-like setting with smaller lots. However, you’ll typically find a great location with a more considerable lot size in older homes. Historic houses will often sit closer to downtown areas, making them convenient for those looking to take a nice walk into town or be close to activities.  

It has also become common to build larger homes on smaller lots. This isn’t the case for antique homes, however. Older home lots will usually be more extensive than modern houses, with beautiful mature landscaping. 

Cons of Purchasing an Older Home

While there are many pros to buying an antique home, they are not without cons. Buyers must consider many factors in older homes that owners of more modern builds won’t need to worry about.

Older Homes Might Have Higher Insurance Rates

As mentioned above, a con for older homes is often their insurance rates. Because insurance providers base their premiums on risks, historic houses tend to get higher rates.

Due to their age, more things could go wrong with an older home. Electrical work, plumbing, and even some building materials likely won’t stand the test of time, meaning they will need to be replaced eventually and could pose a hazard. This is why with an older home, it’s a good idea to look into homeowner insurance endorsements, such as foundation insurance.

With more modern builds, all materials will be new and less risky. Insurance companies will offer lower rates for this. 

More Work Could Be Needed in an Older Home

Modern homes are usually move-in ready for their buyers. But older homes may need a little more work before moving in and getting comfortable.

It’s not uncommon for antique houses to have some dated features buyers may want to update before moving in. Along with updates, historic homes require many upkeep projects to keep them looking their best. 

Since materials are older, they will likely require more maintenance and care. This can certainly be a labor of love, but it’s an essential factor to consider when determining if an older home is right for you. 

Older Homes May Have Difficult Layouts

Many people praise and seek the open floor plan layout seen in more modern homes. But in an older home, you likely won’t find this. Privacy was much more important and valued when antique houses were built, so you will find more separation between rooms. 

Older homes will also typically lack closet space and large bedrooms, as they weren’t sought-after features of the time. Walk-in closets were not widespread until the 1980s, so buyers won’t find this feature in most historic houses.

Another typical layout that many people struggle with in older homes is bathrooms. You will often find antique houses containing fewer bathrooms than more modern builds. Not only are there fewer bathrooms, but they may often be smaller and less functional.

This lack of bathrooms is primarily due to the fact that indoor plumbing was not commonplace until the mid-1900s. Many historic homes were built without bathrooms, which owners added on later.

Since bathrooms can be expensive, it was common only to add one for the entire home. Though life is different now, and many people expect multiple bathrooms in their homes, older houses don’t tend to meet this need, which can be difficult for buyers. 

Weighing the Pros and Cons of an Older Home

Older homes are attention-grabbing and beautiful with their stunning architecture and unique character. However, these historic homes are not without their flaws.

You will likely find increased insurance rates, extra work, and complicated layouts in older homes. While these may be difficult for some buyers, they shouldn’t deter you if you have your heart set on an antique house.

Many pros may outweigh the cons if you are in the market for an older home. Unique features, large lots, and robust building materials are excellent reasons to purchase a historic house and turn it into your dream home.