Like many other people I know, I often get romantic feelings about one day living in an old home. Whether it’s in the country or a big old townhouse in a city doesn’t matter – it’s the nostalgia and history of ‘antique’ buildings that I think I love most, not necessarily the setting. But dreams are one thing – and reality is another entirely.
After having researched this romantic ideal for a long time, I’m not sure moving into an old house would necessarily be a smooth experience. There are a few things we should all look out for when buying something historical that you just don’t have to worry about with more modern buildings.
So, while I would still love an older home, the following problems would put me off a little – let’s take a look and find out.
Unless an old home has had some serious work done to it in recent years, the chances are that it will be incredibly low tech. And we’re not talking gadgets or the Internet of Things, here. While the outside of the building might be made from excellent materials – handcrafted, maybe – the internal workings may be a little worse for wear. Electric systems that were installed before strict standards came into being; plumbing from the Victorian era, and windows and insulation that were built long before anyone coined the term ‘energy saving.’ Could you live with that?
You may or may not have to buy homeowners’ insurance when you purchase a house – a lot of it is dependent on your mortgage terms. But if you buy an older home rich in heritage and history, you can be sure that you will be forced into an insurance policy. And it won’t be cheap. It’s easy to see why – after all, the chances are that you will need all kinds of expensive work done on the home at some point in the future, from roof repairs to foundation work. Pricey homeowner’s insurance isn’t a complete game changer, but it’s something you need to bear in mind as it can add a substantial amount to your monthly payments.
Another major issue with old homes is that as much as you want to modernise it, it might be impossible. If you buy a listed building, for example, you probably won’t be able to install double glazing, or new doorways, or do any external work at all. And you also might have to put up with a septic tank as opposed to being connected to the plumbing system – and you may have to heat your home with oil rather than gas. Again, this might not bother you, but it’s more costs added to the overall price of running an old home – and you will get through that heating during the winter months as they are much harder to keep warm than modern buildings.
As you can see, there are plenty of problems with owning an old home. But I think, even still, that it would fulfil a dream one day in the future. The trick is to have the money to run an old, ancient house – and that’s another story entirely.