Vancouver Character Homes: Differences between character and heritage homes

Vancouver Character Homes: Differences between character and heritage homes 

Old world charm is a common quality that homeowners look for when they buy character homes and heritage homes. Although both are historical structures, there are differences in the quality of character homes and heritage homes, with both of them being older properties.

Heritage homes are a niche market just like Vancouver Character Homes properties but there are distinct characteristics. 

  1. Character homes

An old house is considered a character home if it was built earlier than the 1940s. Property landscapes usually include farmhouses, cottages, country homes and lots of space with maybe an outbuilding or two.

Their appearance represents an age belonging to quaint architectural styles and artisans’ skills, and are found in and around villages. They have fewer restrictions when it comes to renovations but there are incentives available when homeowners keep the structural character of the house. Character homes provide an opportunity for homeowners in most cities to afford a place to live.

Some property types in the character home market include:

  • Thatch – Houses with thatched roofs are not expensive to repair and are one of the usual favourites due to their charming appearance. However, the thatch makes them prone to fires which can increase insurance costs.
  • Listed buildings – Several reasons why a building can be listed are its rarity, age, construction method or architectural merit. They are most likely to be protected because of historical importance, like a location for a very important event or the home of a famous person.
  • Conversions – These days you see homes that have been converted from barns, trains stations and old schools. They require planning permission and are definitely not a cheap purchase because you need to prepare more than 50% of the property’s value to turn them into a home.
  1. Heritage homes

Heritage homes are ancestral properties that are usually protected with legal status to protect their historical value and importance. Many towns and cities grant official heritage recognition to help celebrate the community’s history and cultural identity.

There are many challenges to renovating a heritage property. To renovate one to a 21st century home, you have to think about adding energy-saving electrical wirings and fixtures, modern heating, industrial-strength plumbings and steel reinforcements to existing structures. 

You may also have difficulty looking for interiors and fixtures that fit the age and architectural style of a heritage home, although there are home building stores now that offer heritage specific products that have tech features, like solar panel shingles for the roof. Also, heritage conversion laws restrict most structural changes to the exterior of the house to preserve its historical facade, which may limit your options for paint colours and styles.

There can be funding opportunities in owning heritage properties that you can look into in your area. Some cities offer government conservation grants and assistance with renovation planning and access to architects, engineers and other building professionals.

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