Restoring A Historic Home On A Budget

by Dan Lesniak

DC has the highest concentration of old homes in the US. While some of the homes need repairs, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, a recent study found that the right renovations can recoup 80% or more of their costs back during resale. This is very useful, especially as it isn’t cheap to buy a home in DC. If you want to make repairs to your older property and you are on a budget, don’t worry. If you are savvy you can reduce the cost of the renovations, making it easier for you to move in when you are ready. Here’s how to restore a historic home on a budget.

Start With The Most Important Jobs

If you have a strict budget, start with the most important jobs such as the windows, the roof and the structure. It can be tempting to start thinking about painting the walls and choosing cabinets, but first you should deal with the essential jobs that will prevent future damage from happening. For instance, research has found that older homes are more likely to have structural problems than newer homes, including minor cracks and corrosion. Check the structure for faults that could become hazardous, and make sure that you look out for water damage, especially if the house has been empty for a while. A study recently discovered that 250 gallons of water can leak from a tiny pipe crack over time, which can cause serious structural damage and mold problems.

If there is a fireplace you should check the chimney to see if the mortar needs repairing. Simply tap the mortar to see if it comes apart; if so, you will need professionals to reseal the mortar before you can use the fireplace. Doing these tasks will ensure that your house is safe and livable – even if the walls do still need a lick of paint!

Embrace Quirks That Aren’t Dangerous

Old homes come with a lot of quirks, and if you are on a budget it could be a good idea to save some money by embracing the quirks. This can even add value to your home. A recent study from the National Association of Realtors found that old fireplaces can increase a property’s value by up to $5,000. And the quirks aren’t just inside the house; stone paving and patios can also increase the value of your home.

If the home has stone paving outside, you could wash it down to remove stubborn dirt so that you can see the original design. This is a cheap way to add value to your home; more than half of US buyers say that they would pay premium prices for a home with a beautiful patio.  You may also need a rake, a mulching mower and a lawnmower so you can get rid of leaves and trim the grass; all of which are much cheaper than hiring a professional to deal with the lawn!

Moving into a older home is an exciting and fun adventure, so don’t let the renovation costs bog you down. Just make sure to budget carefully and start with the most hazardous problems, and you shouldn’t go overboard with your spending.

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