Tips for Buying and Restoring Historic Properties

Not too long ago Nicole Curtis of the Rehab Addict, a show on the DIY network, sat down for an interview with Country Living Magazine. She shared some of her expert advice for loving on historic properties. Since the DC area and northern Virginia is full of great historic properties and luxury homes we thought we would share some of the insights of the article with you.

Tips for Buying and Restoring Historic Properties

Nicole shares in the opening lines of her show that her goal is to take worn-down old properties and “restore them to their former glory.” She has become quite famous and her show is very popular. She has brought many amazing properties back to life including gorgeous historic mansions. In the article written by Country Living she shared her top 5 buying and restoring tips.

  1. Know your strengths and limitations

Don’t purchase a property that will be too much for you to take on. Make sure that you are up to the task. If you plan to do the work yourself and it is your first restoring project start small. She says “Always ask yourself, ‘Do I have the time or money?’ Because if you have the time then you don’t necessarily need a huge budget and you can pretty much learn as you go.”

If you are a handy person and love these types of projects then go for it. Or if you have the money to hire someone to do a large restoring project then purchase that large romantic Virginia mansion.

  1. Avoid This Most Common Mistake

There is no single restoring formula to fix all distressed historic homes. Nicole says, “The biggest mistake people make is that they don’t do their research. They hire contractors who don’t work with the type of home that they have. If you have a home from 1910, make sure that you are working with a plumber who is proficient in old plumbing.”

  1. Search for the CluesTips for Buying and Restoring Historic Properties

It is not uncommon for older properties to be stripped of original finishes and fixtures, with no extra materials to replace them. You can put the fixtures back in the home if you are willing to search. Look hard enough and you can find some clues about how the property may have looked when it was new. Nicole advises,” look for one detail that is still there. A lot of times its just one piece of original trim. I could match that!”

  1. Don’t Get Scared by the Need for Custom

Many older properties are made with custom fixtures. A custom made item may need to be replaced or add to it for an authentic look. Nicole uses custom fixtures that surprisingly cost less than stock items.

  1. Keep and Repair Key Components Instead of Replacing Them

The best fit for things in an old house are the original ones that came with the home. Old homes shift and settle with time and the parts made for the home when it was new settle with the home. Nicole says, “original is always best.” Taking out a door that came with the home and putting in a new one could just lead to painstaking work

There are many many beautiful older homes, row houses and estates in our area, many of them have been lovingly restored and are tour-able or used as businesses for the public to enjoy.

For more information on Northern Virginia, DC or Maryland estates and homes please browse our blog or contact us anytime.

Gene Mock, Associate Broker, Premier Team


Northern Virginia Realty - Gene Mock
Gene Mock – Premier Team – Keller Williams Realty – 703-342-8100
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