When your dream is to own a home with an interesting past, your shopping is sure to trend toward available historical homes in the area where you wish to purchase. Unlike existing residential listings which are typically updated and modernized as part of the listing process, true historical homes strive to remain true to their original design and time period in history.
While the lack of modernization can be a plus for the historic home buyer, it is important to be vigilant about some age-related condition issues that could affect the stability and overall value of the home. If you are currently shopping for a home in the historic home category, this information will help you make a more informed selection.
Brick and Mortar Issues
Many of the most interesting historic homes were constructed with bricks and mortar or other masonry materials. While masonry construction is known for its strength and durability, there are some specific condition issues that should be carefully considered. Some of the most common include:
- Situations where the mortar that holds and stabilizes bricks, stones, or blocks is missing or severely deteriorated
- Evidence of cracks and displacement of masonry walls due to settlement or weather
- Surface damage due to exposure to water, efflorescence, or the growth of mold, moss, vines, and other vegetation
If masonry condition issues are a concern, prospective buyers should consider consulting with an experienced residential masonry contractor to assess the extent of the problem.
Another potentially serious condition that often affects older structures is foundation movement. While some settling occurs naturally over time, extensive changes can weaken the structure and can contribute to extensive repair issues throughout the home.
Prospective buyers who note symptoms such as uneven flooring, poorly fitting or non-working doors and windows, or extensive cracks in plaster walls and ceilings will want to rule out potential foundation issues before moving forward with a purchase offer. Consulting a structural engineer can be beneficial in deciding if the home's foundation is acceptable or whether it will require extensive repairs.
Prospective buyers may also want to research the history of the home to determine if it ever received major damage from a house fire, flood, tornado, or other major event. In addition to the disclosure documents from the seller, buyers can find this information by searching property records and newspaper archives by the home's address and by the names of any previous owners.
The purchase of any historic home can be a complicated process. Opting to work with a real estate agent who specializes in historic homes will help prospective buyers simplify the process and achieve the best possible results. For more information on historic homes, contact a local real estate company.