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Historic homes make for excellent ‘house-flipping’ opportunities. These homes are well sought-after for their recognition, respect, and the history that their owners are connected to. But it’s not uncommon for these homes to fall into disrepair. But when you’re considering a historic home for investment, you should understand a few of the intricate details of home restoration, rehabilitation, and historic home preservation.

 

Restoration vs Rehabilitation

These two processes are subtly different but very important for your end goals for the home. Restoration means that you will be focused on bringing the home back to its original form. While the strictest of restorations are typically reserved for very high-profile historic sites, it’s not uncommon to sell a home as a ‘restored’ building, with as authentic of an appearance as possible.

A rehabilitated home, on the other hand, is a home that is made modern. This typically preserves the most important architectural and historic features of the building, but it would add any electrical, mechanical, plumbing, or other modern niceties of current homes.

It’s fair to note that this is not a black-and-white situation, most restored homes will have updated plumbing fixtures and electrical systems, and some rehabilitations fall short of a complete make-over.

 

What is Right for You?

Knowing the difference between these two processes is important, but the decision must be guided by your goals for the home. What attracted you to the building? How do you see your ideal life? If you have yet to begin, do a full walk-through of the home and take detailed notes on what you feel is the best feature of each room – or what each room is missing. Make sure to consider your needs as a household – the presence of children should definitely factor in.

The important thing is to recognize how much of the home you wish to preserve, and where you want to modernize. Some people are more attracted to a ‘retro’ lifestyle, while others want a certain aesthetic.

 

Once you’ve decided on the path your home will take, you should begin your research. Restoration will take a great deal of work to match or replace the pieces of the home that need it. Home restoration is a very big industry, and hiring a good restoration expert will make the process much smoother than if you did the work yourself.  For more reading, look into the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, a detailed list of recommendations and guidelines on how to approach restoration.