Updating old homes

And, above all, anybody you bring must understand your ultimate goal of restoring the property.“A lot of people don’t understand the difference between preservation and ripping something out and starting over,” says Gambrel “That’s not what you want.Restoring a historic house is no small undertaking.Not only does special care need to be taken when dealing with old structures and building materials, but old houses are full of surprises, and costs can add up quickly.“You don’t want to over invest in a house that won’t yield an equal return.” To that end—research what fully renovated houses sell for in the area and let that inform how you structure your budget.One easy target for conserving the budget is by picking and choosing which fireplaces to restore.“If the floors are crooked, it may because of a warped sill plate, because that’s the whole structure that the house sits on.” A contractor and an inspector can help estimate the amount of work that needs to be done and its cost.

It’s all about knowing what to sacrifice to preserve the rest.

Often in fixer uppers, fireplaces need to be relined or have their masonry repaired—a process that Gambrel says can cost upwards of ,000 .

If you find a place with multiple fireplaces—and chimneys—it might be smart to pick and choose which to repair.

“I would rather maintain the integrity of 3 compelling rooms and compromise the 4th rather than chop away at all four and be left with four average spaces,” says Gambrel.

There is a certain pressure that comes with owning an older home to "be true to the era". On one hand, it makes sense to try to match updates to the era the home was built in.

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