Owning a heritage property is a blessing and a curse. It is truly precious to own a property that originates from a specific period in the past, reminding us of distant times. Its value is great, both in terms of money and sentimentality.
On the other hand, owning it can sometimes be a nightmare, especially if you plan on selling it. In the majority of cases, a heritage property needs to be restored before being put on the market. However, it’s not an easy job at all because it differs from regular restoration projects and home improvement tricks. As it requires a unique approach, you will definitely need professional help. So, forget about DIY projects on your heritage property and make a clever plan. Only then will you manage to maximize its value.
1. First things first – get a permit
When you decide to renovate your heritage property, the first thing you should do is to get a permit. It’s simply a clever thing to do. When you apply for a permit, you will simultaneously have to have a heritage committee reviewing your renovation plan. The purpose of the committee is to check if your renovation plans treat the heritage features on your home properly. In other words, they will want to make sure you are not stripping your home of the heritage features that make it special and valuable. This process is not something to be worried about – you will simply discuss your intentions with them.
2. Start from the top
In many cases, roof repairs won’t be enough when it comes to a heritage house. It would probably need to be replaced. Metal roofs are cheaper to replace while the asbestos roof will be more expensive. The reason behind this is that you’ll need a licensed asbestos removalist to remove the old roof. It’s necessary for professionals to transport the old roof, so the cost goes up. Luckily, a listed heritage property probably doesn’t have an asbestos roof, so you’ll just have to deal with a different issue. It’s necessary to replace heritage tiles or a slate roof with the same material so that you maintain the character of the house.
3. Do the exterior facelift
Of course, the exterior look of the house will have to be preserved. The trick is to maintain a balance between the vintage and the modern elements. In this way, modern elements will only improve the overall look without interfering with the original feel. What’s best, you can always replace the modern elements when they go out of style while keeping the vintage ones. Selling a home starts from the exterior, so get it done right.
4. Flooring issues
When it comes to the flooring inside the house, it can actually work in your favor. Numerous old homes have timber flooring, which can remain intact and in good condition for decades. All you will have to do is to sand the floors and polish them and – voila!
On the other hand, the old flooring can also bring you troubles. The vinyl in some of them could contain asbestos, so you’ll have to pay for the asbestos to be removed. It’s also necessary to use the same type of timber if you decide to make any repairs. The patina should be the same, as well.
5. Light and lighting fixtures
It is allowed to install new lighting fixtures inside a heritage home. However, you need to keep the original look if the house has ornate ceilings. If you want to allow more light into the room, it’s possible to find vintage fixtures and windows in second-hand building yards. Alternatively, you can hire a joiner to build a brand-new window for you.
6. Electricity works
The fact is that we have more electrical appliances today than we had in the past. And we can’t imagine our lives without the majority of them. The trouble with heritage homes is that their electrical wiring wasn’t designed for a large amount of current that we need today. So, you will probably need to hire an electrician to update the whole electrical system. It’s possible you’ll need to rewire the whole house completely, including adding more power outlets and lighting, as well as replacing the switchboard. In short, if you are forced to update the complete wiring system, together with adding more features, you can expect to spend around $5000.
As you can see, it’s necessary to inform yourself about the cost of each of the works if you are planning to restore your heritage property. You need to compare it to your current budget and to identify the works that simply need to be done and those that are not necessary (but boost the value nevertheless). Only then will you know what exactly are you getting yourself into.