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Home Experts Explain How to Transform an Old Boston House into a Historic Stunner

Alongside Boston’s rich historical roots comes its architecture, and it’s nothing short of desirable. That’s why it’s not surprising that people continue to buy older Boston properties. From 18th century American Colonials to distinct, brick-faced Federal-style houses nestled in the North End, this city and its suburbs offer historic charm that doesn’t disappoint.

Buying a historic property means buying beauty and authenticity, but it also means, well, buying an old house—there is an initial rehabilitation period where you need to offer up some TLC and make the property into your dream home. That’s why we spoke to the team at Prevu Real Estate for a few tips to make that happen and get that rewarding finish.

Find an inspector who knows historic homes

Having the right inspector can help you keep an eye out for sneaky issues that may arise as you get to know your new home. An inspector who is well-versed in the pitfalls of older properties is instrumental to the fixing-up process.

An experienced inspector can be tuned into the plumbing and electrical systems in your potential historic house, keeping an eye on pipes, which can burst, and electrical systems, which can short out. These systems are expensive to fix and especially expensive to replace, so you can see why professional surveillance is necessary.

By checking out the plumbing, electrical, and other infrastructure, the right inspector can give you peace of mind. Especially in an old home, knowing whether a slightly sloped floor or a small crack in the foundation is a mark of character or hazard will help you sleep at night and save you money in the long run.

Don’t replace the old, embrace the old

First thing’s first: if an older home has carpeting, ask the listing agent if there is a wood floor underneath it. Removing carpeting is an easy way to reveal old material that has likely been kept in good condition and should be shown off. Plus, many of these homes have loft ceilings and plenty of windows, so the addition of a well-buffed floor will make for a stunning, well-lit room.

Updating the walls can also support your restoration endeavors. While wallpaper was all the rage decades ago, you might instead consider refreshing rooms with a new paint color.

Exteriors are just as easy; power washing and trimming overgrown vegetation can do wonders for siding.

Commit to maintaining the original features

Purchasing a historic Boston home puts you in close contact with both the city’s history and American history. Should you choose to protect this history and maintain the original infrastructure elements, you can raise the home’s value. Not only that, you will also be preserving important elements of national heritage along the way.

Usually, the original moldings and other woodworking features are selling points of the residence, so new homeowners should work to restore and maintain these facets rather than remove them.

For example, if the home has an original fireplace, focus on fixing—but not modernizing—any worn features. If you are touring an older, farmhouse-style home, you can turn to floor buffing to restore scuffed planks to their former glory.

Buyers considering a home with historic features should check with their agent to ensure that it is not protected by any local landmark restrictions, as these may require buyers to remodel the home in a specific way. Luckily, there is a booming reclaimed materials business in Boston, which allows buyers to easily find replacement parts such as wooden floorboards and antique items.

Be strategic about your investment

You will want to purchase a property that will satisfy your dream home search and save you money at the same time. Especially if your house will need any restoration after you become its new owner, this can take some strategizing.

Something that will help with that is finding an agent who provides commission rebates, which will leave you with a check when you close on your home. That extra capital after closing will come in handy as you restore the parts of the property that are in need of some TLC.

Interested in buying a home in Boston? Browse listings and see how much you can save with Prevu’s Smart Buyer Rebate.