When Are Houses Considered “Old”? (7 Helpful Examples)

Old houses have a ton of charm and character. However, they can be harder to sell and sometimes have many problems.

Although they might be cooler than modern, cookie-cutter houses, you should still be wary when buying one.

In this article, we’ll talk about what makes a house “old,” why that is good and bad, and how to sell your old house!

Here’s When a House is Considered Old:

Houses that are over 50+ years of age are generally considered old. However, houses that are younger than that but poorly maintained can be perceived as “old.” Meanwhile, 100-year-old houses with complete upgrades and rebuilds can look newer.

The Age Range of Houses

These age ranges can be used as a general guideline to help classify homes based on their age, but it’s important to note that the age of a home isn’t always indicative of its condition or value:

New Houses

New houses are usually within 1-5 years of age.

Not only is the construction new, but the appliances, plumbing, electrical, and other house components are also new.

However, some people can still consider a house “new” up to the 20-year mark – especially if the house is well-maintained.

For example, most affordable houses are between 50-100 years old, so houses younger than 20 years are considered “new” and in good shape.

While some things need to be replaced much earlier than within those 20 years, the house is still considered pretty “new.”

Middle-Aged Houses

Middle-aged houses are somewhere between 20-50 years of age.

They aren’t considered “new” anymore and tend to start needing replacements and repairs.

At the very least, things like the HVAC system, the plumbing, electrical wiring, and the roof would need to be attended to.

It might need some new paint or cosmetic updates, which can make it look younger.

Old Houses

Houses that are 50+ years old are considered “old.”

They tend to require significant repairs and updates; sometimes, knocking them down is easier.

Often, they have gone through many owners and changes. They can also wear down over the years from weather and natural disasters.

Older houses may have outdated design features, materials, and building techniques that are no longer up to code or modern standards.

For example, older houses may have knob-and-tube wiring or galvanized plumbing, which are no longer used in modern homes due to safety concerns. These outdated features can make maintaining and repairing older homes more difficult and expensive.

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Location is Important

The specific climate or location of a house can prematurely age it.

For example, heat and humidity in warmer areas can cause materials to expand and contract, leading to cracks in foundations, walls, and floors. Harsh exposure to the sun can also fade house paint colors and degrade roofing materials.

Colder climates freeze the pipes of houses, and the roofs deal with heavy loads of snow. They are also more susceptible to damage from moisture buildup.

So, even if a house is only 20 years old and considered “new,” it might still be damaged and require repairs or updates to make a sale.

Factors that Change Perceived Age:

Many factors can change the “percieved” age of a house.

For example, even if a house is “new,” it can look old depending on the architectural style, interior design, maintenance, and upkeep.

For instance, architectural styles, such as colonial or Victorian, may be considered old because they are reminiscent of a historical period in time.

A new house with a modern exterior that looks new can have old furniture and old-fashioned interior design, making it feel “old.”

The opposite is also possible. A colonial house that is 100 years old could have had a complete makeover – meaning updated structural support, cosmetics, pipes, electrical wiring, etc.

So, even though it is technically “old,” it can appear very “new” because of the updates and changes!

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Is It a Good or Bad Thing that a House is Old (When Listing)?

Sometimes, an older house is a positive feature. Older homes may have more character, unique architectural features, and larger lots.

Some people may appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail that older homes often have. Older homes may also be located in desirable neighborhoods with established communities and mature landscaping.

However, if the house is in poor condition or has outdated features, its age may be viewed as a negative. Buyers may need more time to update and maintain an older home.

Additionally, older homes may need help with outdated plumbing, electrical, and heating systems, which can be expensive to repair or replace.

Pros of an Old House:

Older homes often have unique architectural features, such as crown molding, hardwood floors, and original details that give them character and charm.

Older homes may have larger lots with more outdoor space and greenery.

They are also often located in established neighborhoods with mature landscaping and established communities.

Some older homes may have historical significance, adding to their appeal and value.

Therefore, older homes can be priced lower than newer homes, making them more affordable for buyers.

Cons of an Old House:

Older homes may require more frequent and expensive repairs and maintenance than newer homes, especially if they have outdated electrical, plumbing, and heating systems.

They also are less energy-efficient than newer homes.

You also need to ensure you get the house appraised and inspected. Older homes may have safety issues, such as lead-based paint, asbestos insulation, and outdated electrical wiring.

Small bathrooms, low ceilings, and limited closet space can also make them less appealing to modern buyers.

Finally, older homes may have lower resale value than newer homes, especially if they require significant repairs and updates.

Real Estate Bias Toward Old Houses

There is a lot of negative stigma regarding old homes.

On the one hand, they are more affordable than brand-new homes that you would see in a cookie-cutter suburban area. However, they also have a lot of problems.

So, even if you can afford an older house initially, the repairs or updates could quickly eat into your budget.

However, many people appreciate the character and charm that an old house can provide. Many people these days don’t like the cookie-cutter look of modern houses.

Therefore, some buyers actively avoid “new” and boring-looking houses. Also, some people enjoy restoring old houses, so they specifically buy ones that need work.

So, while there is a slight bias against old houses, those who can afford them and update them tend to gravitate toward their charm and uniqueness.

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Value of Renovations in Old Houses

Renovating old houses is important not only for the housing market but also for preserving history.

Renovations can increase the functionality of an old house. You would do this by updating outdated features and using the available space better.

This can make the home more comfortable and convenient to live in.

If the renovations are done to respect the original architecture and design, then it can preserve history and keep its uniqueness and charm!

Renovations can also be a valuable investment that can add functionality, aesthetic appeal, energy efficiency, and value to the property.

If you do decide to renovate an old house, work with a professional contractor and carefully plan and budget for the renovation project beforehand. Renovating an old house has a lot of costs and hidden surprises, so make sure you are prepared!

The Charm of an Old House

Old houses are full of history and character.

They often have unique architectural features and were built with quality materials that are hard to find today. Walking into an old house can feel like stepping back in time, and each one has a story to tell.

They offer a sense of character and charm that can be hard to find in newer homes and provide an opportunity for personalization and customization.

From the creaky hardwood floors to the cozy fireplaces, they have a warmth and character that many people gravitate toward.

That is why even if a house is “old,” it can still have value!

5 Tips for Selling an Old House:

Selling an old house can be daunting, especially when showcasing its unique charm and history to potential buyers.

However, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can ensure that your old house sells quickly and for a great price.

Here are five essential tips for selling an old house that will help you highlight its history, charm, and character:

Know Your House’s History (Use it to Your Advantage)

Highlight the unique historical features of the house in your marketing materials.

Mention the year the house was built, any famous residents who may have lived there, and any interesting architectural details.

If the house has a historical certification, make sure to mention that as well!

Make Repairs & Renovations

Before putting the house on the market, make any necessary repairs to ensure it is in good condition.

Consider updating the kitchen and bathrooms to modernize the house while still preserving its historical charm.

Also, repaint any rooms that need it and replace any outdated fixtures.

Staging the House

When staging the house, use furniture and decor that complements the historical style of the house.

Highlight any unique features such as original hardwood floors, intricate moldings, or historic fireplaces.

Keep the house clean and clutter-free to allow potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the space.

Pricing Correctly

It’s important to price the house correctly from the beginning to avoid having it sit on the market for too long.

Research the prices of similar homes in the area and consider any unique historical features of the house.

Consider hiring a professional appraiser to get an accurate value of the property.

Marketing Your House

When marketing the house, highlight its unique historical features and any recent updates or renovations.

Use high-quality photos and videos to showcase the house’s charm and character.

Consider listing the house with a real estate agent specializing in selling historic homes to reach a larger audience.

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