Historical homes – buyers tend to love them or hate them. So, how can you make the most of these romantic rarities and get a worthy result come sale time?
In an era of demolition and subdivision, historical homes are becoming an increasingly rare commodity. But they are not every buyer’s cup of tea. They’re either loved for their romance and character or hated for their cost and upkeep. So how can you make sure you market your home to the right people and get the historical sales value it deserves?
Here are our top tips:
Treat your home like a work of art
Historical homes have sought-after features and detailed craftsmanship - a little like pieces of art. Modern houses tend to be less elaborate with clean lines, plain windows and simple features. None of the ornate cornices and timber mantle pieces of older homes. So, like a rare painting, embellish the craftsmanship of your home. Understand its features by their era and the artist behind them, a famous architect perhaps?
Know your home’s backstory
With any luck, you’ll attract the attention of a few knowledgeable investors and historians who appreciate the historical value of your home. But they’ll also take pride in restorations and pay careful attention to your home’s original features. These types of buyers will come armed with questions - so make sure you know the story behind the home. When was it built? What are the original features? Did anyone famous live there? Have any renovations or alterations been carried out?
Work up a good ‘yarn’ for the press
Most real estate publications these days are littered with gleaming apartment towers and whacky modern architecture. So it’s not surprising the media loves timeless, old properties with a story behind them. They have eccentricity, legacy, famous past owners – perhaps even hidden passages and the odd ghost. Work up a good yarn about your property and you may win some free publicity.
But leave out the negative stories
The older a home is, the more stories it tends to collect. If there are cobwebs lurking in your home’s past – it’s probably best to keep quiet about these creepy, negative stories and stick to the ones that sell…
The ‘stand the test of time’ argument
Most houses these days get slapped together via the quickest, cheapest labour and materials. As a result, our tradies are having a field day, their businesses roaring as they fix up shoddy building works. While older homes may need maintenance and renovating, they’re of an architectural era that demanded quality, authenticity and artistry. They are robust. We know it because they’ve stood the test of time – make sure your buyers know it.
Weasel out any nasties
Older homes were often built using what we now know to be harmful materials. So, it might be worth having a thorough investigation to rule out asbestos or lead-based paint. If discovered, these types of materials will affect your sales price. And building inspectors have an obligation to point them out. The problem is, asbestos removal isn’t cheap. It’s also tricky to identify because it’s not clearly marked. Your safest bet is to have it checked by a company that conducts asbestos audits, as they’ll be able to advise about safe removal. Removing lead-based paints is also finicky, but easier than asbestos - so long as you abide by the right safety procedures.
Handle with care
If your home is old, it may be heritage listed. In which case, you need to get council approval before you carry out major renovations or alterations. If it’s not heritage listed, you still want to be careful. Eradicate its charm and character and you’ll also lose a large chunk of its value. So be careful when replacing window fittings or altering features - you want to keep or enhance its original charm where possible.
Old meets new is the new new!
Many people’s visions of old homes include leaky roofs, mouldy showers and squeaky floorboards, but the reality is the old homes of today have generally gone through some fine-tuning; walls knocked down, living spaces opened up, kitchens kitted out. What you now have are these trendy, sought-after blends of historic architecture and modern luxury.
Dig out the cleaning gloves
Old homes can actually scrub up quite nicely. And just like any other property, presentation is everything. So, dust those ornate cornices! Polish those timber floors! Wash those stained glass windows! Your home may be old, but it can still glisten.
Tackle bad smells
The downside of old homes? They have a tendency to omit musty scents – and even the keenest historians will be put off by the waft of mildew. You want to find the cause of these bad smells and get rid of them. Burning candles and sprinkling carpet freshener may not be enough.
How about you? Have a love of historic homes? Ever sold or bought one and want to share your experiences?