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Old House? How You Can Create a Story That Interests Buyers

Published December 14, 2016

If you are trying to sell your older home, you need to appeal to the right buyers. Crafting a creative story about your home can help you to sell.

Older homes are often a harder sell because they typically appeal to only a certain type of buyer. If you are looking to attract the right buyers to your home, your home must have a story. Telling the story of your home can help potential buyers to envision themselves owning your home, making it easier to close the deal.

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Every older home has a story to tell. Whether your home is a historic home or has existed for decades, all homes tell the story of the people who lived there. For people who are interested in buying older homes, much of the appeal of an older home lies in the home’s history and unique design.

As a homeseller, you should do as much as possible to highlight the history of your home. While older homes typically can’t compete with newer homes based on amenities, they can compete based on history. Older homes typically offer a unique character that new construction simply does not have.

Here are a few ways in which you can work with your real estate agent to craft a story of your home that will appeal to potential buyers.

Dig Into Local Records

The first step to discovering the history of your older home is to look at local records. Tax records for your home are typically available at the local courthouse or town hall. Here you can find information about your home, as well as, the previous owners. You can also visit your local library to look up census records or maps to find out even more information about the home and its previous occupants.

Check old newspapers for articles about your home. “Look at indexes for the years you think your house may have been built, under headings such as ‘buildings’ or ‘architecture,’” says Mary Beth D'Alonzo, a project archivist with the Georgia Historical Society. “Construction of the more prominent houses in the area may have warranted articles,” she says. “A lucky researcher may even find how many rooms were on the first floor, maybe even the wall paper.”

By reviewing these records, you may find that your home played a unique role in history or previously housed some well-known residents. All of the information that you find about your home can be used to craft a unique story that only your home can tell.

Research the Architecture Style

The style of architecture can also reveal a lot about your home’s history. Reviewing a home architecture guide can help you to find out more about the building styles during the period in which your home was built. You could even use this information to sell the idea of a period restoration to a buyer that is interested in your home.

You should also take a careful look at the renovations that have been made to your home since it was built. Peeling back the layers of your home could reveal hidden rooms or design, such as decorative molding, that were covered up long ago.

Often it can be difficult to tell exactly how the home was modified from its original state because there have been so many changes since it was built. Hiring a professional to check the history of your home can help to date the elements of your home. A conservator may look at the layers of the paint in order to determine which periods of manufacturing define the various elements of your home. In addition, irregularities with regard to the style of fixtures, bolts and screws can reveal the periods of construction.

Your home may actually not tell a story of a single period in time. It may actually tell a story about how it has evolved as the various new owners occupied and modified the property.

By sharing the history of these elements, you can convince buyers that your home is indeed a hidden treasure trove. “There is something about running your hand down a banister that generations of people have held in their hands for centuries. It gives you a sense of place and time, and a perspective on where you fit in this huge, sometimes impersonal world.” says owner of Austin Home Restorations. “You are a part -- a small but important part -- of a much greater story.”

Learn More About the People

Selling an older home isn’t always about the home. Sometimes the unique story of an older home may actually be about the residents that used to live there. If famous people or historic figures lived in your home, make sure that this information is included as part of the story of your home. Promoting your home based on its previous occupants could help to attract history buffs that are interested in buying your home. Homes in historic districts typically have higher values than homes in other places thanks to this angle.

Selling an older home is easier when you highlight the elements of your home that make it unique from new construction. A real estate agent can help you to find the right professionals that will accurately date your home. However, doing your own research about your home can also reveal interesting facts that you can use to promote your home’s unique character. By crafting a unique story about your home, you can directly appeal to the subset of buyers that are interested in purchasing older homes.