Durango is an historic town, so obviously there are many old homes. We take for granted the history and real estate opportunity these homes bring to life. Old homes have potential as great investments – especially as most of them are downtown. Often, they sit on “location, location, location” lots, but there is also risk in old homes. Most people focus on the aesthetics when looking at old homes like the cost of upgrading flooring or refinishing awesome original wood floors, modernizing kitchens, and updating bathrooms. I remind buyers though that the condition of the furnace, boiler, roof, windows, electrical and plumbing often stand out as the mandatory, big ticket renovations in old homes. Worse, these issues typically aren’t discovered until after a home inspection. Once there is a contract price agreed upon it’s difficult to re-negotiate after the fact even in light of big findings.
For historic home sellers, I usually suggest investing in a pre-listing home inspection. We eliminate surprises and set a list price with confidence. As a listing agent, I often suggest getting quotes for the obvious updates or fixes a buyer will most likely want to do. Issues of aesthetic, safety, and energy efficiency arise as key factors of interest with buyers; I prepare my clients to answer buyer’s questions. Additionally, some sellers might want to consider updating their home before listing to speed up sale and increase value depending on the market activity and demand. However if a Seller does not wish to make additional investments, it is helpful to have an idea of what it will cost for the Buyer to update and reflect this in the asking price. Unknown issues and costs slow down the selling process. I find that anticipating what buyers want to know and providing timely information is a service that benefits all parties.
Whether buying or selling in La Plata County, historic homes take some extra TLC, but they can be worth it. As a full time Realtor, I can walk buyers and sellers through some of the common pitfalls and hold ups associated with old homes.