Friday, February 18, 2011

Link Love: Old House Web

Recently, I have received a number of calls/questions from current and past clients about old house issues: seeking advice about cracked plaster, settling, tuck pointing, resources for replacement fixtures comparable to the originals, replacement and/or removal of original boilers or radiators.

After almost 10 years of practicing real estate in a city as old as St. Louis, I am well accustomed to these types of questions. The fact of the matter is that a large portion of our Metro area is pre-WWII. These homes are very ornate, built with careful attention to detail and style, and stand as museums of Old World methods/artistry. Beautiful! Sadly however, without proper maintenance and care over the years... these building methods, meant to stand the test of time, can become costly and catastrophic down the road.

Perfect example: my clients own a home that was built in the 20's. The property has had 6+ owners. They recently came home to find their "slightly cracked" dining room plaster ceiling... on the dining room FLOOR. Ack! Nightmare, but it happens. It just does. It is part of owning an old home at times, unfortunately. That being said, it doesn't make the shock or panic of this situation any less.

Deferred maintenance is a HUGE "no-no" with an older home. The general rule as far as value and respect for a property goes: preserve as much architectural integrity as you possible can. Period. That being said, in the example above, that was not only not realistic but entirely too costly.

It is difficult to find GOOD plaster contractors, even in a city like St. Louis. In addition, frankly, re plastering is not a cost-effective solution for the average Home Owner in 2011. It just isn't. The answer for my clients in this situation: remove all loose plaster, patch it, and cover it with a thin sheet rock. Voila! Gorgeous.

The point of this post? The best part of living in the Age of the Internet is the amount of resources at our fingertips. Over the past month, I have found myself pointing 3-4 of my clients/friends in the direction of one of my favorite web links. After doing so again just this AM... figured it was time for a blog shout out.

If you own an older home, you must know about Old House Web. Period. "Ideas and Advice for Old Home Enthusiasts" indeed! The searchable article database covers the GAMUT of old house issues. Just excellent! My favorite part of this site, however, is the Old House forum. It is a super active discussion group filled with great advice from old house experts/ fellow owners. If you have an issue that has recently come to light, more than likely, it has been addressed on Old House Web. IDEAL starting point and amazing resource for you "caretakers" of an older home...