Turn of the century architecture, that is 20th century not 21st century, is frequently sought after by the nostalgic home buyer. Vintage homes, circa 1900, were frequently designed and built with unique rooms, dormers, window sizes, nooks and crannies, front and back porches, hand crafted woodwork and cedar closets.
Locating affordable vintage homes to buy that are rich with authentic details intact can be difficult. Vintage homes sometimes become dilapidated and a lot of larger vintage homes have been re-imagined into multi-family houses and duplexes over the decades.
Shockingly, you can find vintage homes in every price point and style. Whether you are looking for traditional two-storey vintage homes, lovely old duplex or highly sought after mansion, there are some important considerations when buying vintage homes.
Updated with style
Not present style but did the updates mirror the style of the era when the vintage homes were originally constructed. If the updates do not mix well with the original homes, the value of the vintage homes can be compromised.
Upgraded electrical and plumbing
If the furnace looks like an octopus and you require fuses for the electrical panel, there will be significant updates needed for the vintage homes at some point in the future.
A lot of vintage homes will not only feature beautiful window details but there will frequently be odd sized windows as well. Although this adds to the charm, it’s expensive to have custom windows replaced.
Odd sized doors
Frequently, doors in vintage homes are not a standard size – just like with the windows. This can result in additional expenses when replacing or repairing a door because it will have to be cut to measure.
A strong foundation
A century ago, when vintage homes were built, there was no city inspector or building code. Frequently, a corner of a home would be a “root” cellar without foundation floor or wall. Sometimes the builder would just place a thin layer of cement over the wall to make it look nice instead of using cement blocks. While they have stood for decades, walls in vintage homes can deteriorate over time.
Sheds and Garages
Very few families owned the lawn equipment of cars we need today so when vintage homes were built there frequently weren’t garages. Closely examine any older detached garage as a lot of them are unstable. Finding vintage homes with a large detached garage is rare. But be advised, majority of the attached garages on vintage homes were probably added on during a remodel. If this is the situation, make sure it fits well with the existing structure of the home.
Houses in the early 1900s were insured by the amount of doors so bedrooms were frequently built without closets. Some dressers or closets were added later under the eaves in the upstairs of the house. Closets were a lot smaller than what is expected today.
Properly maintained and refinished vintage hardwood can be one of the most stunning features of the home. If the vintage homes have carpeting, check the floor inside the closets for clues as to what kind of flooring is hidden below.
Chimneys and Fireplaces
Although they are beautiful and are a focal point, be sure to have any original stone or brick fireplace inspected by a professional chimney expert before purchasing. Bricks can loosen and linings can crack over time which can be expensive to repair.
This list is simply a starting point and not an inclusive list of things to consider when looking for vintage homes to purchase.