OldHouses.com logo

10 Signs You Should Buy an Old House

Sure, lots of people love old houses because of their history and their beauty. But living in an old house can be another thing altogether.

Compared to a new house, an old house will take from you some combination of extra money and time, and you can be certain that you will not overestimate either one. But even if you can work those out, how do you know if old house living is right for you? Give yourself a point for each of these items you agree with, then check the scoring to see how much of an old house person you are.

1. You prefer to drive with the top down or the windows open.

You like to connect yourself with your environment, even at the expense of your physical comfort, even if it messes up your hair.

2. You’re inclined to tolerate rather than eliminate things that bug you.

For instance, it's not that you can tolerate having small, uninvited critters in your living space, but that you can tolerate that they exist. You’d rather avoid having to kill them.

3. You are not a clothes horse.

You are willing to put off buying new clothes for a season or two. You don't mind being seen in work clothes. And you are not horified by the idea of small closets.

4. Your earliest memories involved places.

Your childhood memories include images of furniture, rooms, porches, crystal doorknobs.

5. You like to daydream.

You enjoy imagining what happened in the past, as well as what you might do in the future.

6. You love to travel but don't do it all that often.

You don’t regret traveling when you do it, but you tend to prioritize other ways to spend your money and time. Often it is partners or friends who coax you into traveling.

7. You aren't too bothered by sweat.

This is not saying that you don't mind hard work, but that physically breaking a sweat doesn't make you feel too gross.

8. You don't like throwing things away.

Even if you aren't a hoarder, you don’t enjoy throwing out items like clothes, tools and furniture that still work or could be repaired. It annoys you that it is often cheaper and easier to throw out old things and replace them instead of repairing them.

9. You enjoy puzzles and mysteries.

Things that don’t seem to make sense or that have some hidden purpose catch your attention, and you get satisfaction from understanding the story behind them.

10. You are not a completionist.

You can tolerate projects that last a long while. You think it’s OK to get a project 99% complete and leave it that way for a while, as long as it gets the job done.


8 - 10: You are an Old house nut.

Not only will you enjoy living in an old house, you will get psychic benefits from the experience. You have a fertile imagination, and an old house will let you constantly indulge it. You will be more aware of the seasons and the weather, and the house will encourage you to interact more with them. 

You can indulge your impulse to make old things useful again, starting with the house and including the things that go in it, and that you use to work on it.

4 - 7: You're on the white picket fence.

You may be very happy in an old house, but try to find one that doesn't require a whole lot of work, or that has been updated with modern conveniences. It will also help if you have a partner who scores higher on this test than you do, so they can take care of some of the issues that you would consider a misery.

Or perhaps you won't like the idea of living in disarray, of having projects that seem never to get finished, or baseboards that you can never get clean enough. In this case, go for old houses with clean simple trim, and that don't require major renovations.

1 - 3: Call a building contractor.

Chances are you will be happier in a newer home. Even if history is your bag, you will probably be irritated by the endless hassles and expense of an old house, and you will have no trouble coming up with better ways to spend your time and money. You may be intrigued by the history of the house, but the charm will wear off eventually. You don't want to serve your house, you want it to serve you.

Comments & Feedback

from the blog

The Life of Old Houses.

by Joe Copley, the founder of OldHouses.com.

Find Historic Homes for Sale.

Browse Listings

Use Advanced Search

Find An Agent

Your Feedback

Help & Support.

Return to Top