You know a community has provenance when it has a road named Old King's Highway, as in... the King of England.
Cape Cod is old and the housing stock reflects our proud history.
There are currently 121 single family homes for sale constructed prior to 1900.
Not everyone wants to own a home built when Abraham Lincoln was President, but for those who do, there are risks along with the rewards to consider. To minimize the former, here are some tips from Realtor.com.
First, determine the scope of the project. Will you shore up the foundation? Remove some interior walls? Expand and modernize the kitchen and baths? If you're looking for an old house bargain, it might be less expensive to buy a handyman special, tear it down and start all over.
Second, know your architect. Ask your realtor or your friends for the name of a professional with expertise in working with historic homes. Make an appointment to see if the architect shares your vision of what the antique home can be.
Keep it local. Where possible, source architectural salvage from the same region. Design details and materials at home with the natural environment will produce a harmonious final product. Why reinvent the wheel when the wheel may be lying in a field nearby somewhere?
And now, what not to do.
Don't interfere. Once the project is underway, a change of heart about the floor plan or a significant design element will stop the work, put the job behind schedule, cost money and heap frustration on everyone. Some contractors will quit a homeowner who is all over the place with his or her fancies. Do your best to get it right before construction begins.
Don't ignore Historic Commission rules. Cape Cod is rich with history and there are hard-working town commissions working hard to guarantee this history is not lost for future generations. After all, the two-month tourist economy that allows the Cape to survive year round is partly founded on the unique historic characteristics of our region. Work with your contractor to make sure the required permits are in place and aesthetic rules are followed.
Don't assume the job will come in at budget. Most construction projects blast through projections by as much as 25 percent. Expect yours will too and have the money ready.
With thoughtful planning and some guidance, a quality historic renovation can provide years of comfortable living in a home with a glorious past.
You may also like:
Massachusetts Historic Society
Trust for Architectural Easements
Old House Journal