photos © Jonna Reilly Photography

New, Old, or Needs a Face lift – Which Kind of House is Right For You?

New, Old, or Needs a Face lift – Which Kind of House is Right For You?

Homes are like people. With age, some develop more character, charm and history. Some need a decent amount of maintenance work. Others become completely dilapidated.

Homes that have fallen into disrepair can be easily reconstructed or demolished with new construction built in their place. Then buyers are faced with the question: Do you buy historic, updated, completely gutted and rehabbed (these can also be historic) or new construction?

Historic homes have vintage, distinct architecture and often are surrounded by mature trees. There are many on Chicago’s North Shore. The aesthetic is picturesque.

But landmark homes could be in need of serious exterior and interior construction work. Or they could have been updated and need only minor maintenance. They could be completely restored already. If the home is unlivable and needs major construction, buyers need to be prepared in terms of time and budget.

Historic homes may be declared landmarks with specific restrictions and guidelines regarding both interior and exterior rehab work. Homeowners might be required to ensure the building maintains its architectural significance. This means there might be limitations on things such as roofing materials and size and location of windows. A potential benefit of enduring this is a temporary freeze on the property taxes if the renovations qualify under the guidelines of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.    

Without any rehab work, buyers of older homes may have to be willing to live with fewer amenities and outdated floor plans. There likely won’t be walk-in closets. Kitchens are often much smaller with no room for an island. But many people still admire these homes for their classic appeal.

In city neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park and Lakeview, there are several blocks with impressive new construction homes and condos mixed among older properties that warrant demolition. New construction remains prevalent in the city where buyers often appreciate design trends and smart-home amenities. With a new construction home or condo, you can attain walk-in closets and kitchens as big as your budget will allow.  

Jim Miller and JM Partners will help you assess these considerations to find the property that is the right fit for you. Contact them at 773.617.6638 or