The Care And Feeding Of Older Homes And Buildings

Education & Training with Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group

Vintage Maine HomesHere in Maine we have no shortage of vintage homes.  When considering the purchase of a vintage home, it is important to understand that homes certainly can last for hundreds of years, but they do require special care and feeding to do so.

General preventive maintenance is important, but that alone will not keep the builing going.  At some point, major systems and components will need to be replaced.  Before you fall in love with the charm of the woodwork, built-ins and other period features, it is important to research the history of the building and determine which upgrades and improvements have already taken place and more importantly, which ones will be needed in the near future.    ...and to consider this when choosing the price you are willing to pay.


Since centarian homes are not uncommon in our area, simple cosmetic improvements are not enough to preserve and improve a home's value.  These may be the most fun to do, but the savvy home buyer will tend to the structural and system repairs and improvements first. Un-glamorous as they may be, these renovations are what future buyers will look for.  

A good rule of thumb is to start with the safety related improvements first, then move on to items that prevent further deterioration.  Once those are complete, you can move on to the projects that improve energy efficiency and add value, THEN you are free to poke away at the fun cosmetic improvements.

The right improvements to your older home, will not only increase it's lifespan and value, but they will add to your comfort and enjoyment while you live there.


Note:  "Fairhaven." the home pictured above was built in 1842 for a local sea captain and was lovingly restored by it's most recent owners.  With continued care, this home should last at least another 100 years. 


Posted by

The Maine Real Estate Network - Kristen Wheatley - Lewiston-Auburn Maine Real Estate

Maine Realtor Kristen Wheatley  

Kristen Wheatley is a Maine Realtor working and living in Central Maine.  She specializes in the sale of residential and investment property in the Lewiston-Auburn area and surrounding towns.  Kristen uses the latest tools and mobile technology to provide a superior experience and results for her clients and enjoys sharing these technology skills and teaching other real estate professionals and local small business owners.

The Maine Real Estate NetworkKristen Wheatley, Associate Broker
The Maine Real Estate Network
34 Center Street - Auburn ME 04210

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Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives


Vintage homes in ME deserve all the Tender Loving Care for there is a uniqueness and charm unlike the suburbs in major cities. This is a great feature story.

When I lived in Maine many people from Boston admired and wanted homes like this one. Special care and Feeding is mandatory to keep it preserved.

Congratulations on your feature!!!

Jun 09, 2013 08:00 AM #4
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Kristen:  What a great post AND title.  Now all you need to do is write your next post and title it "The Care and Feeding of Older Realtors."  We older chicks could always use some TLC.  :)

Jun 09, 2013 09:36 AM #5
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!
Thank you Patricia. LOL Karen Anne! I'll start n that right away. :-)
Jun 09, 2013 09:42 AM #6
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

Keeping up an older home is the smart thing to do because not only does it give quiet enjoyment, it saves money while you are living in it. The obvious is that it makes the resale value that much greater.

Jun 09, 2013 10:08 AM #7
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

All homes need care and regular maintenance but an older one presents additional challenges to keep it in top shape.

Jun 09, 2013 10:15 AM #8
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Kristen- this really is great information for anyone thinking of buying an older home.  Many are treasures that you can't find today, they just need some special care 

Jun 09, 2013 10:49 AM #9
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Kristen -- Vintage homes are not for everyone.  I think you have outlined for those who are looking at purchasing a Vintage home a roadmap to successul and happy home ownership.

Jun 09, 2013 12:04 PM #10
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I just sold an older home, built in 1834. The owners had been there over 60 years and kept reasonably good care of the home, and fortunately the new owners had the financial means to restore and renovate to original style and character

Jun 09, 2013 12:13 PM #11
Jenn Morson
Metro Referrals - Crofton, MD
Licensed Referral Agent and ASP - Team Woda

Wonderful post, Kristen - informative as well as a catchy title. Many dream of owning such a home but forget the amount of work it requires. 

Jun 09, 2013 12:13 PM #12
Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Yes it's important to know and budget for the safety items, desired features and later improvements.

Jun 09, 2013 12:29 PM #13
Debbie Cook
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Silver Spring, MD
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate


This is great advice for buyers in love with old houses.  We have a lot of old houses in Silver Spring and Takoma Park, they add so much to the charm and character of the area.

Jun 09, 2013 12:45 PM #14
David Grbich
Realty One Group - - San Juan Capistrano, CA
Orange County Real Estate - 949-500-0484

Hi Kristen - lovely historic homes in your area that last many many years when taken care of and restored. Regards Dave

Jun 09, 2013 02:17 PM #15
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Kristen - We don't have a lot of homes that are more than about 60 or so years old though your points make sense.
Jun 09, 2013 02:59 PM #16
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Kristen, this is great advice.  I recently sold a home built in 1955.  Not quite as old as 1842!  Although the home had not been updated, the owner kept the house in good repair: foundation, roof, electrical, plumbing, appliances and landscape.  Potential buyers appreciated the condition of the house and liked the idea that the cosmetics were left to them.

I love old homes.  My sister lives in a late 1800s Victorian in the Chicago area and we sold a Victorian about the same age before moving to Dallas and purchasing a traditional ranch style home.  I miss vintage properties!

Jun 09, 2013 04:11 PM #17
Rain Silverhawk
Keller Williams Sandpoint - Sandpoint, ID
208-610-0011 Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Realtor

Good things to think about when enjoying these treasures

Jun 09, 2013 06:15 PM #18
Scott Fogleman
New Home Team 804-573-9592 - Richmond, VA
New Home Team

Kristen- Great poest and a good idea on how to select which repairs to make first. Often people do the cosmetics first and then wonder why they have to fix something again..

Jun 09, 2013 07:44 PM #19
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Kristen, Great advice!  I think too often buyers fall in love with the idea of an older home without taking into account the realities of what is involved in maintaining that home.

Jun 09, 2013 08:11 PM #20
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

Kristen some good idea's there, old homes have so much character it is nice to save them.

Jun 09, 2013 11:12 PM #21
Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

It really does take a special person to want a vintage home.  In our former home in Wisconsin there was a huge rebirth of the historic district.  Huge old mansions.  All the younger people were picking these up for a song and starting to renovate.  Then winter came.  $1,500/month heating costs.  Oh dear. 

Jun 09, 2013 11:45 PM #22
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

Thank you for all of the comments.  It is good to see so many people familiar with the needs of older homes.  I don't want to scare anyone away from these vintage treasures.  It is just good to know what to expect.  I've been under the weather myself so I haven't been able to respond to all, but will try a bit later.


Chris:  Great point.  The home listed above, since the owners replaced old windows, insulated, and waterproofed the basement and crawlspace, only uses less than 500 gallons of oil all year.  A HUGE difference from what it had been.  THose energy efficiency renovations are big money savers and can help pay for all of the fun stuff.

Jun 10, 2013 05:00 AM #23
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