4 Surprising Things You’ll Learn If You Buy A Historic Property

When it comes to preferences of homebuyers, most people fall into one of two categories:

a) The modern buyer

A modern buyer wants to find a property that is bright, airy, and the perfect baseline for the Scandi style trends that have held sway for several years now.

b) The historic buyer

A historic buyer prefers a house with a history, with charm, with a story to tell.

Most interestingly, the two types of buyers tend to cancel one another out. A modern buyer would never buy the same kind of property as a historic buyer (and vice versa), so there’s room in the housing market to cater to them both.

A lot is said about modern buyers, with a general feeling that this is the kind of property that most people are supposed to want. However, there are plenty of historic buyers out there, for whom the main concerns are properties full of character and interest. They might not be as common in terms of numbers as modern buyers, but they do exist— and perhaps you’re one of them.

If you’ve always loved the idea of buying a historic property, then there are a few things you’ll need to know before you exchange contracts. As wonderful as historic properties can be, they are not without their quirks. While it’s more than likely that these quirks will just make you love the house more, it’s still wise to ensure you know exactly what you’re in for…

4 Surprising Things You’ll Learn if you Buy a Historic Property

1) Simple things are more difficult

As wonderful as historic properties can be, they do make life more challenging when it comes to basic home maintenance tasks. You will find yourself having to contend with issues such as:

  • Potentially hazardous materials. Older properties are more likely to contain construction materials we now know to be hazardous, such as asbestos or lead paint. This means that any renovation work you want to do has to be conducted particularly carefully.
  • Quirky wiring. Historic properties that have not been rewired can have somewhat “temperamental” wiring, so you’ll likely want to bring in an electrician at some point to ensure everything is as it should be!
  • Strange door locks. Older locks tend to need experts like to deal with them, as the mechanisms have fallen out of use and thus general knowledge.
  • Lack of modern conveniences. For example, an older house is unlikely to have a damp-proof course, which could pose problems with structural integrity if not rectified.

As a result of these issues and similar concerns, you’ll likely find that living in a historic property is generally more hassle than a modern home. It’s likely to be a compromise that you’re happy to make, but it’s still something you’re going to need to keep in mind!

2) You’ll quickly think the house is haunted

No matter how convinced you are that ghosts and ghouls don’t really exist, a few nights spent in a historic property will quickly change your mind. As mentioned, old houses tend to be full of older fixtures and fittings, particularly in regards to plumbing and electricity. As charming as this may seem at first, eventually, you will realize there is a substantial downside: old fixtures and fittings are noisy. Historic houses are far more likely to creak, shift, clatter, and bang than their modern equivalents, leading to many older homes gaining reputations for being haunted. The good news is that, over time, you’ll quickly adjust to the noisier setting and in time, you won’t even hear it. Just be prepared for a few days of surprising noises and sudden shocks when you first move in! If you find yourself concerned by the noises, the guide on should help to soothe your frayed nerves.

3) You can’t part-replace features

Performing renovation work on historic properties is incredibly difficult, and not just for the potential hazards as mentioned in the first point. Another issue you will face is that, if you want to renovate an area, you will rarely be able to find exact replicas of features. This is a particular concern for tiles and flooring materials; it’s incredibly unlikely that these items will still be produced in their original form, so you’re never going to be able to find an exact match.

This means you will face a dilemma: do you live with the older features, even though they’re not in great condition? Or do you accept that you’re going to have to remove all of the old features and replace them with modern options? Most people renovating historic houses tend to choose the latter, selecting as-close-as-possible modern equivalents to the features that they have had to remove, but you will have to make your own decision as to your preference in this regard.

4) You’ll find signs of previous occupants

While it’s possible to find signs of previous occupants in more modern homes, it’s far more likely in historic properties. You may find yourself peeling back wallpaper and finding a message written by a former owner, or stumbling across child’s toys in corners of the garden that have been neglected for centuries. These occurrences can and do happen as evidenced by this thread on, so it’s worth preparing yourself for such an eventuality if you choose to buy a historic property.For many owners of historic properties, these blasts from the past are actually welcome. They’re a sign of the house’s long lineage, and can help the current owner to feel part of the house’s overall story. However, if you’re concerned at the idea of finding remnants from days gone by in your historic home, it might be worth considering a more modern building.

In conclusion

Historic properties can be truly wonderful, though you do have to be aware of their potential idiosyncrasies. If you’re confident that you can handle the surprises above, then fulfilling your dream of owning a historic property could be the perfect course of action for you— good luck!

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