Why You Should Buy an Old House

Historic HouseSo many people want a new house these days. Something that comes with a warranty and still has that new house smell. But I’d encourage you to do things differently than the masses. Don’t run blindly like the lemmings of society toward what the marketers tell you you should want.

Like Robert Frost I too have taken the path less travelled and that has made all the difference. At The Craftsman Blog I go into all the details of how to fix old houses and why I love them, but sometimes it just requires a simple explanation of the “Why” and less about the “How.” So that’s what I want to share with you today.

The Reasons

Character – A new house rarely comes with the kind of character that an old house does. The architecture is full of faux this and faux that in a new house. Old houses have a level of design and character that today can only be found in high-end custom homes and not in the everyman homes of the early 20th century and before.

Quality – Who wouldn’t rather have a home made of better materials? Things like old-growth lumber, custom plaster, hardwood floors, and historic windows all contribute enormous value to an old home. New homes are filled with bargain basement materials like OSB/Plywood, laminate, formica, inexpensive tile all so that we can have a bigger house with rooms we don’t even use.

They’re Green – The greenest house is one that’s already built. Rather than building a new house and old house saves so much energy even if it isn’t as energy efficient as a new home today. The man hours, the materials, the construction waste all tax the environment. It’s better to find an old house and fix the parts that need fixing than to start from scratch.

They Have a Story – When you live in an old house you become a part of that home’s long story that often reaches back into a time when things were much different. The families that came and went, the notches in a door casing where a mom catalogued her son’s growth, the well worn banister are all a part of that story. And you can feel the history and warmth of the families that came before you. For me that feeling makes me feel connected to the people that came before and the people that will follow.

When you add all these up, to me, it’s really no choice at all. And that’s why I love old houses so very much!

Visit me at The Craftsman for more about historic home repair.


About Scott Sidler

Scott is the owner of Austin Home Restorations, a company that specializes in renovating and restoring historic homes in Orlando, FL and the creator of The Craftsman Blog. When not working on, teaching about or writing about old houses he spends time fixing up his own old bungalow with his wife Delores and son Charley. View all posts by Scott Sidler

3 responses to “Why You Should Buy an Old House

  • John Poole

    Hey, Scott. This is a terrific assessment! You hit on all the key points of why people are proud to own and maintain historic homes. As I was reading through your reasons, I was thinking “yep, yep, yep..”. Perfect! All your postings here are well done and highly useful to historic home owners and preservation / restoration pros. Nice job, and please keep doing what you’re doing!

  • Scotts Contracting (@StLHandyMan)

    I too have been restoring an older home built for the St Louis Worlds Fair held in St Louis MO….eons ago :)… Great to see Like Minded Individuals involved in Building a Green America! (one old home at a time)

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