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Old House Renovation: Is It Worth It?

By Laura Horwitz
Hip Home Columnist

To buy or not to buy…that is the question when it comes to old houses. Have you fallen in love with the original fixtures and historical charm? Can you handle a massive project like an old house renovation? Or would you rather buy something more sleek and modern with all the latest gadgets installed? These three questions may help you decide.

How Sturdy Is Your Structure?
This is the first question to ask when considering whether an old house is worth renovating. If the structure has significant damage, then remodeling can be far more expensive. But if you absolutely love the house, try to negotiate the cost of renovation into the price, especially if it has historical value or features you adore.

Demolish or Redesign?
The second question is whether the old house needs to be brought into the 21st century, at least in some ways. Many older houses have lots of small rooms whereas modern architecture tends to favor fewer but larger rooms. If you want the best of both worlds, you may be able to demolish a wall that separates two small rooms to combine them into one large area. This renovation can work to form a larger kitchen or a master bedroom suite, depending on the floor plan of the original house.

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Too Much Time?
Keep in mind how long serious remodeling can take. With old houses, you may have to update the electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC systems, which can be a tedious and very expensive process. Do you have the patience and the budget?

Many people enjoy buying an old home and fixing it up because they can buy the house for less money upfront and then turn it into exactly what they want--or at least come close. But it's important to know what you're getting into--how many changes need to be made and how much time and money the process will take.

House Hunt, Is That Old House Worth Renovating?
HGTV, This Old House Magazine: The Six Degrees of Renovation
Suite 101, 3 Ways to Fix Up An Old House

About the Author

Laura Horwitz has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for five years in both London and the US. She had a monthly landscaping and tips column for the Sussex County magazine RH Review, and her articles have also appeared in Film Focus, 6 Degrees Film, and BizBash magazine.

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