What says home sweet home better than a house with history? Historic homes appeal to so many people - from preserving architectural designs to showing off unique character touches. Yorkton's South Central, Central and Northern neighbourhoods feature some excellent historic homes. This includes wealthy professionals' homes from the late 1800's and houses built by the Doukhobor settlers! These homes still stand today, reminding us of the people who came before us, who started their new families in a new territory, and who built their families with the future in mind. With all of these things in mind, it's not hard to see why you might find yourself hunting for one of these homes! As with all things in this life, buying a home comes with drawbacks - a heritage home is no different. That's why we're going over five things you ought to know before buying a historic home:

A street view of Third Avenue North in Yorkton, Saskatchewan  during the year of 1911 

Photo - looking down Third Avenue North, Yorkton. 1911. Photo courtesy of Yorkton - Flashes of History, Facebook page.

1) Expect To Repair Things

An image of a man completing repairs on his home. His dog sits beside him, watching.

Due to the age of historic homes, you should be prepared to take on repair jobs right away. Depending on the diligence and finances of the previous owners, you may not have to. The most common renovation / repair work? Roof replacement. Windows are a very close second. Other issues you can expect to encounter would be water or mould damage, structural damage, and electrical expansion. 

2) Maintenance Can Cost More Than Average Homes 

An image of a calculator beside a house figurine, indicating house costs.

Homes today are built differently than those built even decades before. This means that the maintenance needed on a historic home will be much different as well, which could require the assistance of specialized contractors. Specialized contractors mean specialized equipment and different materials which means, you guessed it, more money. This isn't to downplay their work, either. These contractors work hard to preserve the integrity of older homes, using specific equipment and the proper materials. This means they need to charge more for their knowledge, care and experience. It's important for you, the homeowner, to be aware of these higher costs. 

3) Insurance Can Be More Expensive

An image of wood figures laying on a table. An umbrella protects the silhouettes of a house, a car and two people.

Due to the higher repair and maintenance costs of historic homes, insurance rates on your home insurance will reflect that. Newly built homes constructed to code come with warranties to protect your investment for a while after purchase; older homes don't. Make sure you ask your insurance provider for an accurate/detailed quote of what you can expect to pay monthly when you make the switch to a heritage home.

4) Modern Upgrades Aren't Possible Sometimes

An image of a modern dining room.

Modern renovations don't always work out in these old homes. It could be structural, like a load-bearing wall preventing you from opening up rooms...or it could be electrical, like putting a halt to a game room because your amperage can't handle that amount. If you're content with maintaining everything that currently exists, this won't ever be a problem for you. If you intend on making modern upgrades however, you'll have to be sure to check with a contractor first every time to see if what you want is even possible.  

5) Hire An Inspector Experienced With Historic Homes

A home inspector surveying the brick foundation of an historic house.

Since we know that these older homes are built far differently than homes from different eras, you'll want the professional help of an inspector well versed in this particular era of houses. Be sure to inquire about their experience with older homes, since those with better experience will be on the lookout for era-specific issues and specific indicators of degradation. This will give you an accurate picture of what your older home's strengths and weaknesses.

Whatever the reason for your interest in historic homes, make sure you're in the know! Good luck and happy historic house hunting!

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