If you prefer a home that is unique and has character, you probably are giving some thought to buying an older home. Before buying, it’s a good idea to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of owning the home. In this article, we cover the positive benefits I have realized by owning a home built in 1825.
The Pros of An Old Home
In 1972, my husband and I bought a house built in 1825. While maintenance has certainly been an issue, there are more than a few positives to the home. Everything is real. There’s no fake anything. Bricks are brick. Wood is wood. Slate is slate. Fireplace mantles, chair rail, crown molding, and baseboards are not dinky little things; they’re beautifully proportioned. The floors are rich, wide, heart of pine planks.
There’s a rich feeling of history and being connected to our country’s past that permeates through our neighborhood. George Washington grew up just across the river and trudged up the lane across the street from us daily to attend school. James Monroe and Mathew Fontain Maury (the “pathfinder of the seas”) lived within a block of us. Our house was used as a boys’ military academy (Philips’ Military Academy) prior to the War Between the States. Put together, one gets a feeling of wonder when walking around the community.
Old houses can also be a very good investment. First, there is a limited supply of them. With the popularity of historic societies and the preservation movement, people have become more appreciative of them. Precisely because of the center city locations of many of them (which provided drawbacks for us when we first moved here), they are often in what have become highly desirable locations. Our house is within two blocks of commuter rail that runs into downtown Washington, D.C. and many old cities have old house neighborhoods in terrific locations. Boston, Richmond, Savannah, and Charleston come to mind.
We paid $35,000 for our house in 1972. Within the last year, two houses within a block of us have sold for more than a million dollars. I have a feeling that our home may be the best investment we’ve ever made.
That about sums it up. Beauty. A sense of it being “real.” Feeling connected to the past. And a darned good investment to boot. Yup. We’ve spent some blood, sweat, and tears. Real money, too. But I’d do it over again in a heart beat.
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