Older homes can be a treasure trove for the remodeling enthusiast: great bones, a fantastic foundation, and a structure that was built to last. But when remodeling older homes, there are things you need to be aware of. Some old homes may have more issues than first meets the eye.
As you’re diving into your remodeling project, make sure that you aren’t getting in over your head. Keep these five helpful tips in mind when remodeling older homes.
5 Tips For Remodeling Older Homes
1. Know your strengths — and your weaknesses
When remodeling older homes, it’s important to know what you can accomplish and what will be beyond your means. If you’re hiring a contractor to help with the process, make sure you do a walk-through before purchasing the home to ensure that the cost won’t be higher than you originally intended. If you’ll be doing it yourself, make sure that the renovations won’t go widely outside your area of expertise. The best deal in the current real estate market won’t be enough to account for a house that needs extensive renovations that will quickly drive that price tag well over the value of the home. Keep in mind that you may need more specific skills in order to match the style of an older home, for example the use of hand tools to match existing masonry or woodwork.
2. Keep what you can
If an old house is worth saving, chances are, it has a variety of features that are worth keeping. A large part of remodeling older homes involves carefully discovering what those features are. This may include the existing flooring, the original plaster, or the wooden windows that have been designed to stand the test of time. Don’t automatically decide that something needs to be replaced just because it’s showing signs of wear. In many cases, it can be updated, fixed, smoothed, or otherwise repaired to maintain the historic appearance of your house. Keep in mind that many of those original features also add to the value of your home. Remove them, and your historic house will lose some of its value.
3. Create a plan before you start renovating
Whether you’re going the do-it-yourself route or choosing a contractor for your project, you need a clear plan of action before you start remodeling older homes. What, exactly, are you planning to keep? What will you be changing? Ideally, you want to put the plan in place before you start, and you don’t want to make an excessive number of changes along the way. The more changes you make during your remodeling project, the more your initial estimates — both for time and cost — will change along with it. While you may occasionally need to make adaptations in order to meet the needs you discover in the middle of the project, sticking to your plan as closely as possible will save you both time and money.
4. Check your electrical needs
One of the biggest aspects of remodeling older homes is often the electrical system. Old houses often have electrical systems that aren’t up to code and can even present fire hazards or cause other problems. Take the time to carefully look over your electrical system throughout the house. Bring in a professional contractor to take a look if electricity isn’t your area of expertise. This project could involve replacing the main panel, updating the wiring, and adding new switches and outlets, among other efforts.
5. Look for the original details
Remodeling older homes that have been renovated at other times over the years can be a true treasure hunt as you look for the little details that have been covered up or removed in the past. As the home has grown and changed, many of the original features have been lost — and the best remodeling project will help bring them back to light. Check old blueprints, look beneath the floors to see if the original flooring was covered instead of removed, and explore your options. You might discover more about the house’s original appearance than you expected!
Remodeling older homes can be a challenge, but it’s one that is incredibly rewarding. Take the time to look over your new remodeling project carefully, to develop a plan, and to be sure that you’re tackling a project that you can handle, and before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful house that you can choose to either live in or sell. By going forward with patience, you can create an incredible home design that will speak to everyone who walks through it.
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