Many people have an interest in things from bygone days. Some people actually have a love for antiques… furniture, cars, tools, etc. Others have a dream of living in a piece of history, an antique house.
Indeed, living in an antique house is very special, but it isn’t for everybody. It can be considered an honor to live in an antique house. It can be considered a duty to take care of one. Antique homes are fairly rare and “they’re not makin’ em any more!”
So what is antique about an antique house?
Not the roof. The roof has already been replaced about a half dozen times by now. The heating, plumbing and electrical systems were not part of the house when it was built either. Some of the original siding and windows may remain. Likely much of the foundation and wood frame structure date to original construction. The chimney could be new or old but there are likely antique fireplaces. The level of authentic antique interior finishes may vary.
What expectations are realistic?
You don’t buy an antique car for economy, power, or handling. You usually don’t buy antique furniture because of its blemish-free finish. Similarly, compared to the average new house, antique homes are weaker, more expensive to maintain, and may come with compromises to various creature comforts.
How do I judge?
If you are thinking of buying an antique house, make sure you choose a home inspector who is very familiar with this special subject.
An inspector well versed in antique homes can:
- identify the strengths and weaknesses of the house
- put these strengths and weaknesses in perspective compared to other local antique homes
- advise what, if anything, needs to be done now and how to take care of the house in the future