The Pros and Cons of Buying an Older Home

They come with character and charm, but repairs, insurance and historic commission rules can make the purchase of an older property more complicated than new homeowners realize


By Robyn A. FriedmanFeb. 2, 2022 9:00 am Wall Street Journal

Brian Sanders, 47, co-owner of a McMinnville, Ore., car dealership, and his wife, Heather, 29, didn’t set out to purchase a 90-year-old home, but when they began their search last year, the options were limited. They wanted to be close to their children’s schools and few homes were on the market. So the couple purchased a six-bedroom home in Vancouver, Wash., last summer for $2.95 million. The Old Portland-style home, which was extensively remodeled, has a sitting room, formal living and dining rooms, hardwood floors and a $250,000 home theater. He loves it, even though two bathrooms need remodeling and his four air-conditioning units and four furnaces may need replacement soon. “The wainscoting has character, and the quality of the craftsmanship is phenomenal,” he said. 

Whether it is because of a preference for the charm and character of a historic property, a lack of inventory, or rapidly rising home prices, Americans are increasingly purchasing older homes. 

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