Money Pits or Historic Santa Cruz Homes?

Posted by Lauren Spencer on Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 at 12:19pm.

 When you're talking about renovating, there's a fine line between historic Santa Cruz homes and money pits.  It's easy to get so attached to a house that you can't get past "what has been" to see "what is."  If you're thinking about renovating a historic home, you might want to read these tips first:

Renovating Tips

• Have a home inspector come out and look at the house you're interested in.  The inspector should be versed in older homes.

• Have a contractor come out and give you an estimate on repairs, based on their experience and the issues pointed out by the home inspector.

• Be aware that older homes may have issues with lead paint, asbestos and mold.  Have these issues checked out and add them to your cost.

• Set extra money aside for unforeseen issues.  For instance, the older the house, the more likely it is that the wiring and plumbing may need to be replaced.

• Be aware that upkeep on historic Santa Cruz homes is expensive.  Plaster walls and wood floors, for example, need constant care.

• Depending on where the house is located, you may be limited to the type of renovations you can do.  Before beginning, find out if the house is in a historic district or listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

• If you feel that you just have to have the house, no matter what, have someone with a more objective view gather the information together on cost, time and requirements.

 Understand that sometimes it's not possible to fix major structural problems, or the repairs are simply too costly.

• Make sure the house is in a good neighborhood.  It's not worth the effort and money to make a house nice in a neighborhood that will always be horrible.

• Be realistic about what you can afford.  Don't put yourself so deep in hock that you'll never be able to climb out.

Renovating historic Santa Cruz homes can be very satisfying work.  However, the key is to do your research and keep as objective a view as possible.

Need help finding or negotiating for a historic Santa Cruz home?  As the neighborhood specialist, I can help you find your ideal historic home in the finest neighborhood.  Give me a call today at 831.662.6522 or email me at



Home inspector

National Register of Historic Places

Structural problems

About Lauren Spencer

Award-Winning Santa Cruz REALTOR®

Lauren Spencer is your local real estate expert, specializing in Santa Cruz real estate and surrounding communities—this is where she lives, works, and plays too. Let her know your questions about the community and county and she'll be happy to fill you in on all you want to know! Lauren Spencer has consistently been voted best local REALTOR in Santa Cruz and is always happy to offer her advice and expertise. Call her at: 800.226.4717.

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