Home Renovation: A Guide to Fixing Up Historic Homes

Did you know that one of the oldest homes in America is the Fairbanks House which was built around 1637? While most historical homes are not this old, all old houses have certain problems that homeowners will have to deal with. When it comes to historic home renovation, you will need to consider a few different things in order to make sure that the renovation turns out the way you want it to.

The first thing that you will need to face is that restoring a historic home is neither a small nor easy task. While old houses have stood for many years, they often have plenty of problems right under the surface such as water damage, termites, and other issues. Even if you’re not living in the home when you’re preparing to fix and flip it, you will still want to eliminate as many problems as possible. 

Keep reading to learn more about what you need to consider when fixing up an old house.

Keep Your Budget in Mind

Many people get so excited about fixing up an old house and making it as good as new again that they completely forget about their renovations budget. This is something that you should never do. Before you even buy a historic house to flip, you will want to take into account everything that needs to be fixed and apply that to your budget.

Some old houses don’t need that much fixing. You might need to replace some walls or floors here and there, but nothing that would majorly damage your budget. On the other hand, some old houses are in complete disrepair. 

You might need to replace the entire roof, the floors, walls, the electrical system, and more. In some cases, you might even need to repair the foundation which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. You never want to be in a situation in which you find that the cost of repairs far outweighs your budget.

However, as long as you consider how much fixing the house needs before buying it, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this problem. Only take on what you know you can handle and complete. However, even if you know exactly what you need to fix in an old house, you will still need to keep your budget in mind. 

For example, maybe you need to replace a wood floor in the house. There are many types of wood floors to choose from and some are much more expensive than others. If you choose the one that looks the most attractive to you, you might end up forgetting all about how much you’re spending. 

If you do this, you risk losing money when you finally flip the house. This, of course, is not ideal for a house flipper.

Work with a Team

Many house flippers (especially new flippers) believe that they can fix and flip houses all on their own without any help. However, this is rarely the case. If you try to fix up an old house all on your own, you will soon find that you have bitten off more than you can chew. 

When you have to tear off wallpaper, paint the walls, remove old furniture, and clean the whole house, among other things, you will be exhausted before you even really get started. While it is certainly possible to fix and flip a house alone, it will take a very long time and you won’t have time to do anything else. The reason why many new flippers want to try and do all this work on their own is that they think they will save money because they won’t have to hire professional help. 

However, hiring professional help can actually save you money in the long run. When you hire people who know how to renovate houses and do so for a living, you won’t have to be so exhausted because you won’t be doing all the world on your own. More than that, the work will get done much faster and you will have time to do other things. 

Even though you will have to pay for the professional services, you will save money down the road because of how fast you will be able to fix and flip the house. Professionals will also have more experience than you in certain aspects. For example, maybe you have to replace all the windows in the house because the old ones are too drafty. 

However, you might not know the first thing about replacing windows. Hiring a professional for it will ensure that the job is done right. 

Look for Water Damage

When it comes to fixing up and flipping historic houses, water damage is going to be your worst enemy. Water damage is always bad news, even in modern houses, but the problem with water damage in old houses is that it has probably been there for a while. For that reason, certain parts of the house might be in really bad shape. 

For example, say that there is a leak in the roof that has been there for years. While the house might look relatively fine from the outside, the ceiling on the inside might be a disaster. It might be covered in mold and water stains.

This means that you’ll have to tear out most, if not all, of the ceiling. But what if you don’t see any water damage in the ceiling? Don’t relax just yet because there still might be water damage lurking somewhere in the house. 

More often than not, old houses will have a leaky spot on the roof. To check if there is any water damage up there, you might have to crawl up into the attic and see for yourself. You can usually smell water damage from a long way away since it has a distinct musty smell and in severe cases, you might even smell wood rot. 

Whether you find water damage in the bathroom, the attic, or the walls, it is important to fix it as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will only continue to get worse. Water damage is especially bad because it gives mold and rot the opportunity to start growing. 

Mold growth can lead to health problems for those living in the house. Rot, on the other hand, can damage the house’s structural integrity. So, make sure you check every inch for any signs of water damage. 

Start with the Big Problems First

Many people renovating old houses might be tempted to start with the more decorative (and more fun) aspects. For instance, they might want to start looking at paint colors, different types of flooring, and so on. However, before you do any of this, you will want to make sure that all the big problems are out of the way first. 

If the home has an old roof, damaged foundation, broken windows, and so on, you will want to fix those before anything else. That way, all the serious stuff will be out of the way and you will be able to relax a little bit before progressing. The big problems are also the most expensive, so you will have to think about your budget.

Replacing a roof is often a large undertaking. It can also take a while, depending on what kind of roof you need to replace. For that reason, if the roof on your house is old, the first thing you will want to do is replace it. 

That way, you can focus on other things while the roof is being repaired. After the roof is done, you will want to check the quality of the windows. Many old houses have single-pane untreated windows. 

These windows are terrible when it comes to energy efficiency. Because they are so thin and not sealed very well, they tend to be drafty. For that reason, the money used for heating or air conditioning will literally go straight out the window. 

If this is the case for you, you will want to replace the windows right away as well. You don’t have to go overboard by buying the best windows on the market, but you should get some good windows that will add value to the home itself. 

Everything You Need to Know About Historic Home Renovation

Historic home renovation isn’t always easy, but it can be very rewarding once it’s time to flip. When you invest in an older house you will have to keep several things in mind in order to succeed.

For example, you shouldn’t forget about your budget, you will need to work with professionals, and you will need to take care of plenty of big problems such as water damage and window replacement. 

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