So You Think You Want To Buy A Fixer-Upper?


Adam’s restored Queen Anne residence in North Avondale, Cincinnati, built in 1896

You see them around, those lovely, historic homes, in lovely, historic neighborhoods, that just look like they need a little, well, love. And you can just picture yourself kicking back on the front porch with a glass of lemonade on a warm summer’s day, right?

So you think you want to buy an historic home? A real fixer-upper?Picture1

Historic homes come in all sizes and conditions, of course, from those suffering from utter neglect and in desperate need of restoration and rehab, to those that have been “muddled” with over the years but still cry out for restoration and updating. But beware, it took Adam over 10 years to restore his beautiful Queen Anne and he did most of the work himself. If you have any Do-It-Yourself tendencies, our #1 tip is Don’t Get In Over Your Head. In fact, before you buy, we recommend the following:

1) Do a home inspection. You don’t want to find out the foundation is cracked or the roof needs to be replaced after you move in.

2) Consider a counter-offer for fixable flaws.

3) Expect the unexpected. Pipes leak, electrical work becomes outdated and furnaces fail — get used to it.

4) Be honest. If major repairs are required, you’ll either have to do them yourself or bring in the professionals. Some people can handle it; others can’t.

The Bottom Line: Don’t buy someone else’s problems unless you can fix them. Find a house you like, consider its pros and its cons — objectively as well as emotionally.

Here are some of the best of Adam’s “before” and “after” photos taken along his restoration journey–just to show that there can always be light at the end of the tunnel: