What do you need to know when you purchase an old house?

The charm of old towns and cities in Ontario can not leave any person indifferent, some of old houses are eye-catching and people fell in love in them easily and would like to live there.

What do you need to know if you are thinking to buy an old house?

The primary thing is to find out whether this house is considered a designated heritage property or not.

There are several types of recognition, the property might be a listed property, designated heritage property or in a heritage district. Depending on a municipality the classification might be slightly different.

The non-designated heritage property is identified as being of cultural heritage value or interest. Restrictions on the development in the area might exist if a property is located within a heritage district. Extra requirements for demolition of the property may exist if a property is noted as a listed property.

A good source of the information about any restrictions/extra requirements will be the municipality where the property is located.

The designated heritage property is formal public recognition on significant heritage properties with the passing of a municipal by-law.

If a property is designated heritage property, some of the renovations will require heritage permits. Certain restrictions on the reconstruction of the property might be imposed by the municipality and it is worth searching for the details and reading by-laws prior to purchasing this property to make sure that the property fits the purchasers’ intention for future use.

The designation of the property as heritage normally protects design /physical attributes include architectural elements such as: windows, chimneys, verandas, porches, doors, exterior cladding materials, decorative millwork and detailing, shutters, trim, stonework, and any other structural features that are obviously old or original to the building.

It’s necessary to mention that the designation of the property as heritage normally does not:

include interior spaces unless they are unusually significant or rare. They normally have to be specifically cited in the designation by-law. If a building interior, or any other property feature, is not included in the designation by-law, that feature normally can be altered or completely modernized without a heritage review of any kind.

result in higher insurance premiums. A variety of factors may cause an insurance company to increase premiums for older buildings such as old ‘knob and tube’ wiring, an outdated furnace, or serious maintenance issues such as a leaking roof. Heritage designation is not one of these factors.

require a property owner to get Heritage Council’s involvement for regular maintenance and day-to-day activities or functions required to use, maintain and enjoy a property

obligate landowners to restore lost features or to spend more money than they would otherwise spend as a prudent landowner.
restrict the use of a property. Only a zoning by-law can do this.

Are you purchasing an old house? Do you have questions? Contact us at 289-848-0096 for consultation.