The Ultimate Guide to Renovating Your Historic Home

Have you ever dreamt of discovering a charming old house and transforming it into an amazing home? Buying a historic home is the ultimate goal for many DIYers. Finding an old, neglected house and restoring...


Have you ever dreamt of discovering a charming old house and transforming it into an amazing home? Buying a historic home is the ultimate goal for many DIYers. Finding an old, neglected house and restoring it to its former glory can be an extremely satisfying and profitable endeavor. However, it's important to remember that restoring a historic house is a big commitment that requires research, patience, and time. In this guide, we will provide you with some helpful tips to keep in mind as you embark on your historic home restoration journey.

Understand the Difference Between an Old Home and a Historic Home

It's easy to get caught up in the romance and whimsical nature of historic home restoration, but there are key differences between owning a historic home and an old home. While both types of homes have their unique charms, a historic home is a home that has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service. To be deemed historic, a property must meet certain criteria: it must be at least 50 years old, have a connection to historical people or events, have the potential to provide historical information, and maintain the look and feel of the house's era.

Another important distinction between buying a historic home and an old home is the potential financial assistance available for renovation plans. Historic home restoration grants are often available for nonprofit groups, and you may be able to find assistance at the state or local level. Additionally, renovation loans and historic home renovation tax credits can provide financial relief for your dream home. However, it's essential to be aware of any limitations or restrictions that may come with restoring a historic house.

Research Your Home

Before diving into the restoration process, take the time to research your historic home. Pinpoint the style of the home and identify the materials that were commonly used during that time. This information will help you find both historic and modern options for materials that need updating. Researching the era in which your home was built can also inspire renovation ideas that preserve its unique history. Look for pictures of your house or similar houses to gain inspiration from the prime of that era. Local libraries, museums, and long-time residents of the area can be excellent resources for finding historical images and information.

Find the Right Contractor

Unless you have experience in home renovation or have managed similar restoration projects, it's recommended to hire a historic home restoration company to do the actual remodel. These contractors specialize in preserving the original structure of the home while bringing it up to modern standards. Their expertise will ensure that your historic home retains its charm and historical significance.

Don't Cut Corners

Renovating a historic home requires patience and attention to detail. Avoid the temptation to use cheaper, modern methods that may not be compatible with the historical integrity of your home. Listen to your contractor's recommendations and take the time to renovate properly. Although it may feel like the process is taking an eternity, remember that it's better to invest in quality materials and methods to ensure your renovation lasts for years to come. Start with the highest-priority rooms, such as the kitchen and bathroom, to make the home livable while you continue the restoration.

Proper Maintenance and Prevention

Maintaining your historic home is key to its longevity. Create a maintenance checklist to keep track of potential problems and regularly inspect the foundation, roof, exterior siding, chimney, windows, and doors. These areas can deteriorate rapidly in older homes, so staying on top of maintenance is essential. Be proactive in addressing any issues by promptly repairing or replacing damaged components.

Protect Your Investment with a Home Warranty


Buying a historic home is an exciting and overwhelming experience. To give yourself peace of mind, consider investing in a home warranty from American Home Shield. With coverage for up to 23 key home systems and appliances, our home warranty plans protect your hardworking items, regardless of your home's age or style. Explore our range of home warranty plans and find the one that best suits your household. Let the historic home renovation commence!

Remember, restoring a historic home is a labor of love. With the right knowledge, resources, and professionals by your side, you can bring new life to a piece of history and create a truly remarkable home.