Lancaster County PA Realty Check: Restoring Old Houses

Restoring Old Houses

 

Old housesBuying and restoring old houses is indeed a labor of love!  In my career I have restored a number of homes, including in historic Marietta PA.  You still need to be cognizant of costs, and probably everything you estimate for renovations will turn out to cost more because of unknown factors you will discover during the course of the renovation.

The Victorian house in the photograph is a home that I once owned in Columbia, PA.  The third floor had been in a fire and the roof destroyed.  Still, there was beautiful oak and cherry woodwork inside.

Do be careful not to remove old paint with either a torch or sander, because of possible lead being released.  A heat gun is a good solution because it softens the old paint without burning it.  Burning off old paint is one of the reasons historic houses sometimes catch fire during restoration - there may be embers under the eaves, for instance, that go unnoticed overnight while the workers go home.

Having said that, if you love these types of houses and the ambience that they create, nothing new will ever compare with the joy of living and entertaining in one.

Copyright2008BrianSchulman©

 

Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

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Comment balloon 13 commentsBrian Schulman • February 04 2008 12:08PM

Comments

Brian, This home is absolutely beautiful.  I can imagine you must have loved restoring it to its former beauty.
Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 10 years ago

Brian, 
I love Victorian homes.....this one that you previously owned is lovely. I really like the little built-in porch it has on the third floor.
I can picture myself sitting there on a summer afternoon with bare feet up on the railing and a book in hand.

I think you would have loved Emmeline's house (the house I lived in on the bay that  I write about). 

Excellent point about being careful of lead paint....

Jo 

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 10 years ago
Carol, thanks for your coment!  When I first saw this building, it had been converted into six apartments - but of course it had been a single family home originally.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago
Brian that is a beautiful home however I would not undertake a project like that.  Yes the ambience provided by the older homes is really something special.
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 10 years ago

Jo,

I have always been fascinated by Victorian houses.  You have some exquisite examples in Belleville.  I'm sure I would have loved Emmaline's house.

Brian 

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago
Jennifer, you're right - a house like this can be a money pit.  There's a lot of work involved.  That's why I started out this post by saying that this kind of project is a labor of love.  It doesn't always make sense economically.  Sometimes it's just the desire to save or preserve a piece of history.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago

Brian,

Buying, restoring and living in "Old Houses" is a terminal illness...and no amount of money you spend in lumber yard, harware store, flooring showroom offers a cure or long term relief!!! Just when you have some peace and comfort in completing a project or home, you sit back, admire with a glass of wine in hand...and you get the pain, again,,,the illness strikes...  I need another restoration fix. I've restored 5 homes the earliest 1834, currently in a 1880 brick Victorian, and am almost done and...the ilmess is begining to flare up again!!! Can any one save me from this cursed disease?

Ray

Posted by Ray Zwart, CRS, ABR, SRES - Lower Hudson Valley Real Estate (Sassone Realty) over 10 years ago
Ray, loving and wanting to restore old houses is a long term affair.  I'm not sure if it ever goes away entirely.  It sounds like you've done some wonderful projects.  Thanks for stopping by!
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago
Looks like you are experienced in restoring old houses. If I come across any I will let you know.
Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 10 years ago
Sounds like you have seen a lot that can go wrong on old homes...but you are right, nothing compares to their character and ambiance.
Posted by Trey Thurmond, College Station , Texas Homes (BCR Realtors) over 10 years ago

Thanks for stopping by, Gita.

Trey,  I have seen a lot that can go wrong.  That's why I say that restoring old homes must be a labor of love...

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago
Good for you to tackle a job like that... it can be very rewarding.  It's a good thing that somebody does it.
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) over 10 years ago
Georgina, in my younger days I wasn't afraid to tackle anything.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago

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