5 Things to Know Before Buying A Historic Home

Posted by Kent Braaten on Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 at 12:00pm.

One of the best things about Saskatoon is its stunning collection of beautifully-preserved historic homes. Scattered throughout the city, you can find these communities of culture and character that tell the unique past of times before us that can be hard to find in many places nowadays. And with their distinct architectural features and design characteristics, it's not hard to see why you may find yourself searching for “historic homes for sale” as your next real estate venture!

From ornate fireplaces and crown mouldings to established, mature landscaping, there are many benefits to buying a historic house. However, there are also some disadvantages that you’ll definitely want to factor in when considering the purchase, as well. 

Expect Repairs

Depending on the work that has been done by the previous owners to preserve your historic house, there’s a good chance that repairs will be necessary right off the bat. Unless it has been done recently enough, the first repair you can usually expect to do on a historic home will be replacements of the roof and windows. As with all homes, roofs and windows can be expected to weather over time and will need regular repair to prevent damage from the elements. 

Other repairs you can expect to encounter—again, depending on the work done by previous owners—may be water damage, structural damage, or even electrical issues. 

Hire An Inspector Experienced With Historic Homes

To get an accurate picture of what repairs or maintenance you can expect with any historic home for sale, you’ll want to enlist the help of a home inspector that has experience assessing historic homes. These homes were built differently than the homes being built today and an inspector who doesn’t know what they can expect to find may miss some crucial indicators of costly repairs that may be needed.

Before hiring a home inspector to inspect a potential property, ask them about their experience working with historic homes.

Maintenance Can Cost More Than Usual

As I mentioned above, homes today are built far differently than those built even decades before. This means that the maintenance that will need to be done on a historic home will be much different, as well, which could require the assistance of specialized contractors.

These contractors should be familiar with using the different materials used in the home to help preserve the historic integrity, and may charge more for their knowledge, care, and experience. So what may seem like a simple fix could end up with a much more costly bill at the end, and it’s important to be prepared for that before buying a historic home in Saskatoon.

Modern Upgrades May Not Always Be Possible

Depending on many factors, from structure to plumbing to electrical work, the modern upgrades you may be wanting to put into a historic home may not always work. If you are perfectly content with maintaining the historical integrity of the home, this may be fine for you. However, if you are wanting to buy a historic home with the intention of updating and modernizing, consider consulting with a contractor to see if it is even possible. 

Insurance May Be More Expensive

Insurance companies are no strangers to the costly repairs and maintenance that may be required on historic homes, and often the rates they will offer on home insurance will reflect that. New construction homes are usually built to code and come with warranties that help protect your investment for some time after purchase, whereas historic homes do not. Be sure to talk with your insurance provider before making the switch to get an accurate quote of what you can expect to be paying monthly to insure your home.


No matter if you’re buying a historic home simply for the aesthetic appeal or to become a part of the cultural narrative they provide, it can certainly be a truly gratifying experience for a homeowner. Ready to start your search? Contact your local Saskatoon real estate agent and find your perfect home today!

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