Things To Do If You Live In An Old Home

Things To Do If You Live In An Old Home
  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: August 24, 2023
  • Updated On: August 24, 2023

Housing has been a basic human requirement ever since the first people set foot on the planet. Over the years though, construction has evolved in many ways but even then, most residential properties in the US are several decades old. In fact, the US Census Bureau statistics reveal that only about 4.6% of houses in the country have been built in the last five years. 

The current age of most US homes

The largest percentage, 15% of the current housing inventory in America, was built between 1970 and 1979. Almost 12.3% of homes are those that were built in 1939 or even earlier. In contrast to these statistics, most home buyers today prefer to buy a newly built home, but just 11% of all home sales annually are of newly constructed homes. 

State-wise distributions show that the state of New York is amongst a few states with the highest percentage of homes built before the 1940s, which is surprising to some people given that the place is one of the most upscale metropolises today. The state of Illinois has close to 25% of homes that were built during this period too. In Chicago, 40.4% of homes were built before 1940, while only 4.1% were built in 2010 or later. 

These are all interesting figures that show the extent of homes in the US that are “old”. And these are of the larger cities. Smaller towns and villages like Tinley Park, Illinois, which was one of the fastest-growing communities from 1950 to 1980, also have a significant percentage of homes that are dated now. The exact numbers show that 80% of homes in Tinley Park were built after 1970. 

Living in an old home

Different people can feel different about their old home. Some give it a major overhaul, like a significant Tinley Park bathroom remodeling, while others prefer to preserve its unique and distinctive nature. Either way, there are certain things you need to take care of when living in an old home, and here are some of them:

Respect the vintage appeal of your home

Regardless of its age, your home should be respected. Whether it is Colonial, Victorian, Greek Revival, Craftsman, simple, or ornate. Attempting to modify it will only cause problems because of various reasons. The idea of one kind of home passing itself off as another is profoundly disconcerting. Your house has a history that is entirely distinct from any other place, and that antique nature should be honored. 

Combining eras and genres destroys the intrinsic value of your historic home as well as its market value. This rule applies to the integrity of the inner spaces and the way it looks from the outside. It’s not so much about modernizing a home as it is about transforming it into something it was never meant to be, like choosing a Craftsman bungalow to build a stunning Victorian bathroom. Both these designs may be considered old, but that doesn’t make it the right fit.

Preserving the antiquity of your home is the finest thing you can do for it. Even if you think your 1920s bungalow would look great with a throwback 1950s-style kitchen, it is typically not the greatest option. Remain true to the design and period of your home. You can use your imagination, sure, but if there are obvious discrepancies across decades and styles, the house will appear confused, which will turn off potential purchasers in the future.

Preserve the proportions of the exterior

Architects in history have been accredited with some of the most marvelous works that mankind has ever seen. Of course, your home may not be comparable to the Taj Mahal, but either way, the designer will have put an extensive amount of expertise into creating the façade of the place as well as other details of the place. 

When planning a remodel of your home, make sure that you respect the exterior. Sit down with your current architect and discuss how you can work with the existing proportions of the house. For instance, with the doors and windows, make sure that they match the style of the old ones and their sizes. 

You don’t want to go overboard with the renovations and spoil the distinctive vintage appeal of the place. There is a reason old homes are so special and also why they last for such a long time. Since you are living in one, it is your responsibility to be mindful of the rich historical value that comes along with it, and you are the one that needs to protect it as well. 

Study the neighborhood

If your house is old, the neighboring community is likely the same. You may find variations between different houses, but when you look closely, you’ll be able to spot all that there is common between them. Looking at the neighboring homes is a great way to get design cues for various reasons. 

Your home may be losing some of its original appeal of materials. There are also chances that some areas may be substantially muddled. If you are repairing these but don’t know where to start, it works best to study other homes in the community. If your neighbors have senior citizens, even better. You can ask them all that there is to know about the design of these homes. 

Always consult a specialist

Home remodeling is never a simple task, especially considering the design part. The job is even more technical when your home is old. There are numerous other challenges you wouldn’t face with a newly-built home, like maintaining the integrity of the structure in case you are planning a major overhaul to the property. 

In these cases, hire a specialist in old home renovations. These people are precision and quality experts who understand the intricacies of working with a home that was built anywhere before the 1970s. If you forego this point, you risk damaging the house considerably and ending up with a larger repair bill than expected. 


Living in an old home is a privilege that few people experience. It may be a fact that most home buyers today prefer modern properties, but at the end of the day, the ones that sell the most are older constructions. Therefore, it is important to be careful about the place that you live in. 

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.