Buy a Historic House for Your Next Home

Looking at historic homes for sale is exciting, but buying one is even more fun. We’ve been lucky enough to own four historic properties over the years; three residential and one commercial.

The rewards can be plentiful…beautiful architectural detail, interesting room layouts, an impressive facade, and cool features you don’t find today. In addition, a great many historic properties are surprisingly affordable, and by nature of their origins are walking distance to their respective towns and villages. If you want really affordable, we share some Live Rent Free Ideas on another page, but typically someone seeking a historic property has a different idea in mind than working for their housing!

If you decide a historic home is a good fit your building inspector is your new best friend. Don’t fall in love only to find out the repairs are overwhelming; instead pre-inspect carefully looking for big ticket, break-the-bank items, then order a detailed full inspection with your purchase contract. Many historic homes fall within a designation of some sort; either related to the locale or the original use of the space, which can mean some of the repair, updating, and decorating details will be guided by preservation restrictions.

buy a historic house
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Here are the places we visit to keep tabs on historic homes for sale.

Find Historic Homes for Sale Near You…

Preservation Directory

The Preservation Directory, founded by Tim Cannan, is a true gem for old home buyers, researchers, and enthusiasts. Really the first place online you could look for a historic home. Lots of their listings don’t appear on Zillow or in the MLS because they are being sold by towns, historic societies, property liquidators, etc. Some are in great shape, and some are listed as a last ditch effort to find someone to restore before being slated for tear down. Don’t miss this repository of information.

preservation directory buy historic houses

Circa Old Houses

Circa, the home style magazine has a fabulous historic home search tool. With their impressive online reach they get listings others don’t. There are lots of listings that we didn’t see on other sites, and they seem to focus on more move-in ready historic homes and buildings, but we see total rehabs occasionally as well.
circa magazine historic houses for sale

Old Houses

We love this old house listing service for two reasons. Right now it’s the only place to search by features you are looking for like sleeping porches, ripple glass, or a widow’s walk. Others will soon copy this idea, but for now it’s a fun way to look. My favorite feature to look for is “carriage house” to see what creative things people have converted them to or how lovely even outbuildings used to be.
old houses buy historic homes

Historic Properties

When two friends started this site we already lived in a historic home in a small town in Virginia but frequently browsed their site for new listings. It’s so helpful that they have a search field asking “condition”. If you want move in ready, you can easily refine results.

buy historic property

If You’re Interested in Unusual Places to Live Check These Pages as Well

Alternative Home Ideas
Live Rent Free Ideas