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  • Julia Thompson

Buying Historic Real Estate in North Carolina

It’s no secret that I love old houses. Growing up in one instilled the appreciation for character and squeaky floors that you don’t find in newer construction. I also believe that buying old homes is not for everyone. If you are searching for an older home in North Carolina, here are a few quick things to keep in mind. 

  1. Historic Status | Historic Districts

Some people exclusively want to be in a district or on the National Historic Register of homes, while others won’t look at one of those homes. Either option is valid but do your research. Historic Districts and registers can provide security in property location, provide access to tax incentives and grants and assistance in preservation. However, they can also place additional requirements, restrictions and cost on the property you are considering. 

  1. Property Condition

This goes deeper than just a standard home inspection on a non-historic home. The 1914 farm house I was raised in had 6 fireplaces and they were all unable to be burned in safely without reconstruction. Does the home have a slate roof? That requires a specialist.  Asbestos, lead based paint, underground fuel tanks, and mold are all things that old homes are more prone to. Attics are more prone to wildlife nests and infections. Wiring is a concern. The list goes on. Make sure you understand what is going on within the walls of the home you are considering. Most things are fixable, but can be costly. 

  1. Motivation 

Why do you want to own a piece of historic real estate? Is it because you love the history and have an appreciation for how it was built? Are you willing to put up with the additional cost to maintain and lack of energy efficiency? Older homes are more prone to dust and insects than a newer home. If you love the character and feel of an older home it is most likely worth it to you. If you’ve gotten sucked into TV shows that portray the renovation as relatively quick and easy, make sure you love the journey that these homes can take you on if renovations are needed. 

Hopefully this hasn’t scared you off from looking for an old home. If you’re still around you are my kind of person. If you think you may want to stick with newer homes that's perfectly fine too. One thing I love about real estate is that there is a house style for everyone. The walls we choose should reflect us. 

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