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Advantages of Older Homes

Are there any advantages to buying an older home like this one in Boston from 1900?

An old house could be rundown, it could need repairs and it could have unforeseen problems. But there’s a reason why it’s made it more than 100 years. It’s well-made with expert craftsmanship. And it’s got old-world charm. Fireplaces to cozy up to, a massive front porch to lounge on and take in the neighborhood. Oak. Not pine. Not metal. Oak. Big heavy doors and distinctive moldings. The whole place, most likely, was meticulously constructed by a master homebuilder. Prefabrication with synthetic materials was not in his vocabulary.

Also, old homes were built when there was plenty of land to go around. Often, you’ll find they have huge yards and they’re in the oldest, most interesting part of town, maybe with ancient trees on the property that lend a certain character newer homes just can’t match. They’re probably closest to downtown, where all the good stuff is, too. And, you can count on historic zoning to keep the neighborhood stable—no chain restaurants, no malls going up nearby.

These homes have stood the test of time. They’ve weathered storm after storm, and they’ll weather a few more. So what do you need to know if you’re looking into buying one?

One thing to keep in mind is to get an inspection before making an offer. But also be aware that some wear is going to go with the territory. For example, if the sills (the foot-square chestnut beams that ring the bottom of the house) are one-third rotted, and the home is 200 years old, it’s going to take another 400 years for them to completely go, and this won’t be your problem. So don’t sweat it. Termites are also common. But they can be gotten rid of pretty easily by an exterminator.

Wiring is another issue. If it’s outdated, it’s going to be a huge, expensive job. Same for the plumbing and the roof. But this is why you inspect before you purchase.

If you’ve got ghosts, though, there’s not much to be done. Hopefully they’re friendly. That’s just part of the fun of living in a home that’s had generations of owners.

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