Buying an old home can be an adventure in charming renovation — or it can be a money pit with an ever-increasing list of problems. How can you tell which areas need your attention and which you should leave as is? Learn how to modernize your new old home to retain, and even increase, your return on investment while maintaining that charm you love so much.

Worth It

Upgrade Kitchen — Old kitchens were often built as small additions, so use your resources to expand on this to increase your home’s value and functionality.

Update Technology — Wi-Fi has removed the need to rewire for connectivity, and devices are available today that offer smart home features with a vintage look.

Refinish Floors — Original hardwood floors are a huge commodity. Consider refinishing what’s already underfoot to a lustrous, aged patina. 

Line Chimneys — Old mortar and heating systems can corrode the interior of fireplaces and chimneys. Bring in an expert to eliminate CO inhalation dangers.

Reuse Trim — Save antique trim for other home projects. Also, check antique stores and salvage yards if you need to match or replace damaged trim pieces. 

Replace Outlets, Switches, and Plates — Pick one cohesive design and install grounded outlets and new faceplates in every room for a fast upgrade.

Reno Bathrooms — Add new tile, refreshed grout, a new toilet and updated sink fixtures — just please don’t throw out that antique clawfoot tub.

Add Storage — Old homes are notorious for a lack of storage. Consider building closet space to create bedrooms and addition storage within the existing footprint.

Not Worth It 

Replacing Windows — Wood windows are made to last longer than vinyl or aluminum, and the charm of the wavy glass and antique features can increase a home’s value. Replacing them can actually decrease the value of your old home. 

Tearing Down Plaster — The lathe-and-plaster wall design insulates your home better than drywall ever could, and it can be incredibly messy to remove. If you want a visual change, put up wallpaper, panelling, or thin drywall over the plaster.

Adding Square Footage — Modern designs and materials will clash with the old charm of the original space, making it feel out of place. Unless you can find a contractor to use period building materials and match original trim, don’t bother.

Leveling Floors — This time-consuming and costly process often isn’t worth it. Try embracing these and other quirks, as long as they aren’t structurally unsound. 

Tossing Old Fixtures — Though pulls, handles, and knobs aren’t expensive to replace, consider restoring any antique originals to their original gleam. Paint can be stripped, grime can be cleaned. This is also true for original solid wood doors and crown molding. 

At Scafidi Juliano, we are here to help you negotiate a great deal on your new old home. Let our experts advise you on the legalities of homeownership and how to make the most of your renovation and refinishing budgets. Contact Scalfidi Juliano today!