Renovation vs. Restoration

Often I hear home buyers say they are looking for a home they can renovate. Renovating can be fun if you have the time, and can live in the home during this process. Renovation order should consist of kitchens first, then baths, and then, down the line as needed. On the exterior, you always want to start with your roof and make sure your home is airtight. After the roof, paint the trim and / or siding.
As Realtors, we are often asked by consumers, “do you think I should buy new or a resale home”. This, of course, is up to you as a purchaser. The choice is yours, depending on your desire for character and charm, or your preference for bells and whistles of a new home. But please, with older homes, be aware of the pitfalls that come with unexpected costs.
Inevitably, aging items of a home, can be an issue. The roof, decks, siding, porches, rails, drafty windows are always a concern. Dated items, such as: baths, kitchens, interior paint, floor coverings and light fixtures can require attention. And, never forget the wall paper from years ago, that was put over plaster walls to hide the cracks! Allow in your budget, for things you cannot see. They will appear throughout the renovation. Electrical wiring, mainly knob and tube is a biggie in this category. Insulation factors, AMPs of breaker boxes, water heaters and HVAC systems might also have to be considered. This list can be the difference between renovation and restoration.
Restoration has become dear to my heart of late, (said with great sarcasm). Eighteen months ago, I bought a home, that I thought was going to be a “renovation”. But hidden gutters, knob and tube wiring, plaster walls, stucco exterior, insulation, slate roofing, weighted windows, one-hundred year old metal roofing, pipes buried in concrete floors, ceramic tile set in two inch concrete and more have shown me the difference. Coupled with the lost art of true craftsman to do this type of repairs and work, I have learned a great lesson. I have no regrets, but I do want the public to know what they are getting into. Use a Realtor who knows old homes. As of today, with thirty-five plus years as full time Realtor, I am an expert on the difference between renovation and restoration!

Robert Dawson, Broker, LAR President is the owner of Dawson Ford Garbee & Co and the board president for the Lynchburg Association of Realtors.

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