February 24, 2024

When you’re in the market for a new house to call home, it can be tempting to go for shiny new builds. But there’s a lot of beauty in an older home. There’s truth to the saying, “they don’t make ’em like they used to.” The builders and artisans of bygone times were remarkable. 

Their legacy shows in the homes that have lasted a hundred years and are prepared to last another hundred. Sure, these old homes can be a lot of work. Some might be in such bad shape it might not seem worth investing in. 

You may wonder if insurance is harder to get for older homes or what the best homeowner’s insurance for older homes is. But here are 7 reasons why you should take a closer look at buying an older home.

#1– Older Homes Have Character

The most enticing part of an old home is its character. The minute you walk through the door, you can sense the house’s character, even if it’s dated. Typically old homes were built with more intentionality. 

A gingerbread wrap-around porch might catch your fancy. It might be the idea of curling up in a bay window seat to read a good book that fits your ideal. A window seat in a beautiful old bay window can be the source of inspiration for your entire home. The unique features built into older homes add character that is hard to come by in modern builds.

Most newer homes such as mobile and manufactured homes are built to appeal to generic buyers and to sell at the max price for the least amount of cost. A stone fireplace built by artisan masons will not make back costs in the sale price, and they likely won’t include it unless it’s a custom build. 

Not only do older homes display character, but they are also usually in neighborhoods that are full of character. A block of historic homes is exciting and beautiful. When people take on one of these homes, they are proud of what they do to the place and curious to see what their fellow neighbors achieve with their homes.

#2– Older Homes Display Quality Construction

The materials and craftsmanship displayed in old houses are captivating. You can see the old-growth wood when you view the girders in an unfinished basement or attic of an old home. 

Old growth wood can have ten times more growth rings per inch. This means it’s denser than today’s building wood, which is hybridized for faster growth. As a result, this old wood is much more stable and less susceptible to problems plaguing newer wood. Whenever possible, repair old wood rather than replace it. 

The tradesmen of yesteryear took pride in their work. They put their name to their construction and built substantial houses and reputations in their communities. The quality of their skill and materials made for a product that can withstand hundreds of years. 

#3– Older Homes Have Impressive Woodwork 

The woodwork on the main living level in many historic old houses was a palette for the owner to display their wealth. The craftsman usually worked with oak and chestnut hardwoods and flexed their skill in the details. 

There will always be a debate over whether to paint old woodwork. Historic preservationists point out that the original craftsman would have simply used plaster if they had intended the work to be painted. The fact they used stunning wood grain testifies to the idea that old woodwork should not be painted.

Others point out that there’s no reason to avoid painting if the woodwork is simply pine, poplar, or generally unremarkable. When you own an old home, you have the freedom to choose how to update your house according to your vision. 

#4– Older Homes Provide Attic Space

Many beautiful old homes have attics that are more like 3rd floors. These spaces are rarely included in new construction or only as raw crawl spaces with exposed insulation.

You can utilize finished attic spaces in so many ways. An attic opens storage options, playroom capability, and even office space. The eaves and dormers included in older homes are nooks and crannies waiting to be explored and used.

#5– Older Homes Boast Mature Landscaping

Most older homes come with mature trees. You can trim established trees and shrubs to refresh yard interest. The masonry in the landscaping is often worth repairing and keeping since there are nuances of the tradesman from long ago that have been lost on modern quick-build construction.

Many older houses also come with perennials that are worth keeping. Tidying up an heirloom rose or a mature lilac hedge will save you years of investment in growing plants from a nursery. The bigger the nursery plant, the bigger the price tag, so reviving existing plants is worth the time and energy.

#6– Older Homes are Fun to Work On

All the projects involved in restoring or maintaining an old home can be fun. Pouring time and energy into your living space is rewarding. In addition, you get to use the inspiration of the original features to fuel your creativity in making it your own by undergoing some minor renovations.

Buying an older home can be a treasure hunt. Many people in previous generations, especially those who survived times like the Great Depression, stashed cash or valuables inside walls or under floorboards. Previous owners may have also left a little of their family history etched into wooden beams. 

#7– Restoring an Older Home Preserves History

Keeping history alive and cared for is an intangible reward of buying an older home. These homes were built to last and to be enjoyed. When you buy an older home, you respect where the house came from and continue its legacy. 

Researching the craftsmanship and architecture of older homes is fascinating and can be pretty impressive. You’ll find yourself recognizing traits in other historic homes and comparing features. 

Finding ways to modernize and renovate your old home and still honoring the original artisanship can instill pride in your dwelling. Taking on a project home is a great way to boost your social media presence. The fixer-upper trend on tv proves people love a good home improvement story.

Just because a home is old does not mean you have to live in the 19th Century along with the builders. Some great companies out there modernize old houses discreetly while honoring the home’s character. Many old homes have been updated in their electrical grid, plumbing, HVAC systems or undergone wall art installion. You don’t need to sacrifice modern comforts for an older home. 

Maria Hanson writes and researches for the insurance comparison site ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. She is passionate about helping homeowners navigate the process of finding the right insurance fit for them.