How is the sales process different when working with an older home?
Buyers love older homes for their character, charm, unique architectural details, and history. When selling an older home, our marketing needs to prominently highlight these aspects of the property to tell its unique story, something we feel is essential to ensure buyers understand why the home is worth what we’re asking. This means researching the history of a home and understanding the significance and value of details like original molding, stained glass windows, or built-ins.
To help us navigate buyer questions, we ensure we have a firm understanding of how any historic district or designation may impact the home’s value when determining a list price and in future negotiations. In addition, completing property disclosures for an older home takes more rigor and sometimes consultation with outside home experts to reduce any surprises in inspections. And lastly, we often end up working with the seller to make updates and repairs before it hits the market to head off fears related to things like old wiring, mold, roof leaks or another one of the issues that commonly arise during the inspection of an older home.
Do you work with any interior designers to make the home ready for sale?
Sometimes we do. It really depends on the condition of a home, the seller’s budget for repairs or edits to the home, and current market conditions. There is no limit to the renovations and upgrades that can be done to an older home so there is always a debate about what level of changes are needed to sell for what the owner wants. Unless the home requires a major renovation, we tend to use home staging/decorating professionals instead to provide another informed opinion and ensure the home shows the best it can that first day on the market.
You also own a restoration company. How do the historic elements of the home influence the renovation process?
We always want to work around, preserve and restore any historic features like built-ins, trim, fireplaces, mantels, and windows for example. So, it becomes a balance between salvaging these details and bringing the home up to standards of modern living. The vast majority of older homeowners want modern, more open kitchens and baths. When working within an older and more compartmentalized structure, this can prove to be a big challenge and often requires taking down walls, moving bathrooms, staircases, windows…you name it. This takes special care and attention to ensure historic details are preserved, which ultimately increases renovation time and price.
What strategies do you use to make an older home like this more energy efficient?
There are many things that can be done. Unless an owner has an unlimited budget (not likely) we always recommend a home energy audit to determine the best areas to focus. This often includes installing interior storm windows, considering spray foam in basements and walls, adding supplemental heat in locations like bedrooms and kitchens, upgrading heating systems, and addressing drafty elements like pocket door and fireplaces.
This post originally appeared on the Greater Portland Landmarks blog and can be viewed here.