When it Comes to Home Maintenance, Go Historic


A recent article on Projo made an interesting point regarding the construction industry, one that many (but not all) real estate writers and enthusiasts have overlooked. We say this with confidence because many home buyers and sellers have also overlooked this fact.

What we’re talking about is one of the major casualties from the recent recession: deferred maintenance.

There is so much analytical data on home pricing, mortgage increases, and projected market fluctuations–but what measurements in trends and behaviors affecting current home owners?

According to Projo, upgrading or buying a new home may have its ramifications, some that didn’t necessary exist as prominently pre-2009. In this case, home maintenance and remodeling has had a significant drop in activity during the recession, therefore lowering the function and livability amongst many homes currently on the market.

Ouch. When you think you’ve finally found the one, here comes a blog post advising you to think twice.

If you’re from Rhode Island, or have lived here for quite some time, you’d know that our little state has the largest number per capita of National Register of Historic Places in the United States. Which means that over 35 percent of our housing inventory was built before 1940, with 80 percent before 1980.

So what is this article really pushing for? Should we buy newer homes and forego our much-celebrated historic properties? Not necessarily. This article actually advises potential home buyers to invest in older homes rather than newer constructions. The reason being is that is may be more advantageous, and cost-effective, in terms of upkeep and livability.

“New is not necessarily better than old. New and maintenance-free means it will eventually be replaced and thrown away. New houses are not easier, not cheaper, not cleaner. They are different. When considering a house, you need to look through the ugly and consider lifecycle and function,” says Robert Cagnetta of Projo.com. 

Think about it: the construction industry has had to make some “adjustments” in terms of cost since the recession. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training states that there has been a 30 percent drop in construction employment since 2008. It’d be wiser to invest in a home that wasn’t built in times of enormous economic instability and cutbacks.