Over the years we’ve been buying and selling homes. We built the company with a lot of sweat equity, meaning we did some of the work on our homes ourselves, although now we hire crews to do the remodeling work. It can get really warm in the summer, so I can assure you that we’re still contributing sweat equity from time to time!
Over the years we have bought and sold historic homes, some built in the early 1900s, although our city was settled in the late 1800s and many of the original homes have been well maintained and are still standing today. Anyone who has done it will tell you that rehabilitating historic homes is a labor of love. It’s not hard to understand why. Lavish old woodwork, high decorative ceilings, ornate iron bathtubs and classic stained glass windows all have their own charm. Experiencing the elegance of a bygone era motivates buyers to acquire homes in historic neighborhoods. We have helped several people buy and sell historic homes full of classic features, and so we’ve learned a few things about “rehabbing” or rehabilitating historic homes.
When classic features and architectural design representing a certain historical period of time are important to the homeowner, you’ll hear the term “rehab” is used instead of “remodel”. One goal of a rehab is to preserve the historical features, to maintain the home as it was originally built, not to modernize it. Many homeowners have received grant money to rehab their historic homes in approved neighborhoods that qualify for government programs. But the grant money comes with exacting restrictions, which may include selection of roofing, exterior and interior paint colors and bathroom fixtures.
We have not chosen to participate in historic home programs, but we have certainly purchased and rehabbed several historic homes in a variety of neighborhoods across our city. We learned to take time as we consider preservation of historic features of a home, and make comparisons with the alternative, which is remodeling to make the home more modern and comfortable for homeowners today. Rushing into any remodeling project is not wise, so we find that planning ahead with photos and notes keeps us and our project manager on track. And we like to have daily updates on each project, too.
I get to see many homes that we bought in a state of disrepair come back to life, become beautiful again, which attracts families back into established, historic neighborhoods and increases the value of the neighborhood at the same time.