[George] Okay then, I'll throw a rock at the old Granville house.
[Mary] Oh, no, don't! I love that old house. It's full of romance, that old place. I'd
like to live in it. -It’s A Wonderful Life
Anyone who has considered buying an older home with a leaky roof and a newel post knob that just won’t stay put has some tough decisions to make. Do you knock it down and start over? Or do you try your best to preserve the past?
If you look at the geography of aging housing stock in the U.S., Massachusetts has 63% of its housing stock built before 1970 – second only to New York and Rhode Island.
The old Granville house while charming, probably didn’t have much closet space, an open floor plan, or A/C (and we know it needed new windows). But original woodwork, hardwood floors and historical attributes hold value that can’t be replicated.
Today, it is much more expensive to duplicate the quality of craftsman-style homes of a century ago, which can make it more cost-effective to renovate. Not to mention a rehabbed older home will hold value better than a new one.
Aside from the practical logistics of considering a tear-down vs. a renovation (including the permits, inspections, building codes, historical preservation, construction estimates, and of course - cost)….
What would you have done with the old Granville house?
Would you throw a rock in the window and rebuild? Or cover up cracks in the walls with posters of the South Pacific until you could properly refurbish?