Los Angeles Home Philanthropist and Preservationist, Howard Rudzki, Offers Historic Home Buyers Tips on How to Avoid Potential Pitfalls
“Buying and restoring a historic house isn’t a small undertaking and it isn’t for everyone. Not only do old structures need special care, but they are full of surprises, and costs can add up quickly,” says Howard Rudzki, a prominent real-estate philanthropist with a passion for preserving the rich architectural heritage of Los Angeles.
To learn more about whether or not restoring an older home is for you, check out the following tips on what to expect and look for:
1. Know what you are buying
Before you make an offer, know what you’re getting into, because historic homes require more than your average inspection,” Rudzki says. It’s worth the effort to have a contractor with experience in renovating older properties do a walk through to identify the critical issues that could include wiring, plumbing and bad foundations which may not be easily apparent and will require extra time and costs.
“Buyers also need to understand that they may not have all of the creature comforts that come with a new building,” he adds. “For example, in many older homes it’s difficult to have evenly heated or cooled rooms.”
2. Always budget more than you expect to spend
“Expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to opening up walls and floors,” Rudzki cautions. “When you start a renovation, you should budget and extra 15% for unforeseen setbacks that always occur. Every project I have ever worked on has an issue somewhere whether its asbestos, lead pipes, rewiring or water damage. These are serious and need to be addressed.”
3. Embrace the home’s character
Older homes have personality, uniqueness which is what makes them so special. Preserving those characteristics while also refreshing the look and floor plans is key.
Rudzki explains, “Renovating older homes is creative a creative opportunity, so I always advise people to embrace the home’s quirkiness. Sometimes homes have design elements that can’t easily be reproduced so you may need to work around those details.”
4. Hire a qualified team
Bring in contractors with experience in renovating older residences.
“While you may be a weekend DIYer, older homes are always trickier than you think,” Rudzki warns. To ensure you don’t have unforeseen headaches in the future, hire an expert and always ask for references beforehand.
5. Do your research
One of the most expensive parts of a historic home remodel is updating the heating, cooling, and electrical systems. Installing these may require you to tear out architectural details that make the house special.
Rudzki adds, “Today there are many solutions available on the market that let you upgrade key features without removing period details. This includes things like ductless heating and air-conditioning systems that offers renovators flexibility and homeowner more efficient heating and overall cost savings.”