The Pros and Cons to Renovating an Old House

The pros and cons of renovating an old house


You found the perfect house. Well, it will be the perfect house once it’s renovated.

Buying old homes can be a gamble, and when you add in a renovation, things can get tricky. Before you sign on the dotted line, here are some pros and cons to renovating old houses.

These 12 tips will help you get the most out of your home inspection.


1. Old houses can be bought for less. If you’re looking for a true fixer-upper, you’ll likely pay less than you would for a new home. And if you do the renovations yourself, you can save thousands of dollars in the long run and you’ll end up with a great investment.

Here are 32 ways to save during a remodel.

2. An old house has plenty of character. There will likely be old woodwork, intricate details in the moldings and quirky light fixtures and hardware. Even with renovations, you’ll be able to keep some of the uniqueness while bringing it up-to-date and making it your own.

These are the 12 home renovations you’ll likely regret later.

3. When it comes to the building blocks of an old house, you know what you’re in for as these homes were built to last. While you may have to update plumbing and electrical, the structure of the home is usually solid.


1. The price for renovating an old house can be steep. Some of the most expensive areas for renovating an old house can be found in replacing the roof and foundation, electrical and plumbing and updating the HVAC system. Be sure to get a thorough inspection before buying so you know what you may be in for price-wise.

Check out these 20 tips for planning a successful house remodel.

2. Old homes can harbor toxins. Materials such as lead and asbestos are common in old homes and can be a health hazard if they aren’t dealt with properly. Having them professional removed can make the cost of your renovation skyrocket.

3. Renovations could take more time. Since old homes aren’t generally cookie-cutter, unexpected surprises are often found during renovations. Your plans, price and timeline will likely change, and most of the time it’s not for the better.

Here are 17 smart renovation and home improvement tips you should know.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.