Old house house renovation.

Is an Old House is Worth Fixing Up?

Many people ask if an old house is worth fixing up. Renovating an old home is a venture filled with uncertainties. However, there are compelling reasons to undertake such a project. Let’s delve deeper into what makes old houses potentially worth the investment and effort.

How to Determine if an Old House is Worth Fixing Up

Old House Character and Craftsmanship

One of the most appealing aspects of old houses is their character. Unlike many modern homes, which sometimes feel cookie-cutter, old houses often feature unique architectural elements and intricate craftsmanship that are hard to find today. For example, you might discover beautifully crafted woodwork, detailed moldings, and original fixtures that tell a story of a bygone era. These elements can be preserved and enhanced through renovation, adding to the charm and uniqueness of the home.

Take, for instance, a Victorian-era home with original stained-glass windows and ornate wooden staircases. While these features may require careful restoration, they contribute significantly to the house’s aesthetic and historical value. Preserving such details maintains the house’s character and can increase its market appeal. We chronicled our last Old House renovation with a series of videos. 

Financial Considerations of Buying an Old House: Running the Numbers

Fixer-uppers are often discounted due to the repairs needed. This lower initial cost can make them an attractive option for buyers willing to put in the work. By taking on renovations yourself, you can save substantial amounts compared to buying a move-in-ready home. These savings can be significant, especially if you have the skills to handle some of the renovations independently.

For example, a home that needs a new roof updated electrical systems, and modern plumbing might be priced significantly lower than a similar-sized, fully renovated home in the same neighborhood. By investing in these updates, you not only increase the home’s livability but also its market value. However, it’s crucial to carefully estimate the renovation costs to determine if an old house is worth fixing up. You must ensure the estimated cost aligns with your budget and the potential increase in property value.

Good Bones: The Structural Integrity

Old houses are often renowned for their solid construction. Handcrafted elements like brick fireplaces, solid wood floors, and sturdy framing provide a reliable foundation for renovation efforts. These “good bones” mean that while cosmetic updates might be needed, the core structure of the house remains sound, making it a more stable investment.

Consider a Craftsman bungalow with original hardwood floors and a robust stone fireplace. While the home might need updates to the kitchen and bathrooms, the quality of the original construction provides a strong base to build upon. This structural integrity can make renovation projects more straightforward and less risky, as you’re working with a well-built foundation.

Old House Location and Neighborhood Appeal

The appeal of a neighborhood can greatly affect property values. Areas with good schools, low crime rates, desirable amenities like parks, restaurants, shopping centers, and scenic beauty tend to have higher property values. Old houses in historic districts or areas known for their cultural heritage often carry added value due to their unique character and the prestige associated with the location.

For instance, a wise investment can be an old house in a historic district with tree-lined streets, most likely close to vibrant downtown areas, and well-regarded schools. The neighborhood’s charm and desirability can enhance the property’s value, making it more attractive to potential buyers if you decide to sell in the future.


In summary, determining whether an old house is worth fixing involves assessing several key factors: the character and craftsmanship that can be preserved and enhanced, the financial savings and potential return on investment, the structural integrity, and the location’s appeal. Read more on the 5 top challenges of renovation an Old House. While renovating an old home comes with its challenges, the rewards of restoring a piece of history and creating a unique living space can be well worth the effort. By carefully evaluating these aspects, you can decide whether to embark on the renovation journey.

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