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The Costs of Buying and Renovating an Older Home

Updated: Nov 28

Stepping into the timeless charm of an older home is often a dream come true for many. With interest rates higher now than in decades past and home prices staying stubbornly high, is buying and renovating an older home a better option than purchasing a home that is "move in ready?"

The Upkeep Costs of Older Homes

Interior Costs

The costs of interior home improvements

The upkeep costs for owning an older home are typically higher than owning a new home. New owners of older homes face higher upkeep costs than homeowners who have lived there for over a decade. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2019 and 2021, 61% of older homeowners initiated improvement projects, spending an average of $4,100.

The average cost of home improvement projects of older homeowners for a 2,000-square-foot home:

Exterior Costs

The cost of exterior home improvements

The most significant and common exterior replacement or renovation costs are doors, windows, and a roof. The average cost of home improvement projects for older homeowners for a 2,000-square-foot home:

  • Exterior door replacements: Doors average $200 to $800. Labor costs average $230 to $1,300.

  • Window replacements: Window prices average $300 per window but vary greatly. The average cost of labor is around $40 an hour.

  • Roof replacement: Roof prices vary, but the average is around $10,000.

It’s not beyond the average to expect to pay $50,000-$100,000 in immediate renovation costs when purchasing an older home.


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Borrowing Costs

The median home cost varies from neighborhood to neighborhood and state to state. The national average (median) in July of 2023 is just over $400,000. Bankrate shares the average cost per state.

Related reading: something about borrowing and credit scores

According to the Federal Reserve, when writing this (October 13, 2023), the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 7.57%. Assuming 20% down on a $400,000 home ($80,000), that is a $320,000 mortgage. The total cost is calculated and illustrated below, which includes the average cost of property taxes and insurance.

The cost of a 30 year mortgage for the average home cost and average lending rate

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What Next?

As we have written about, renting can sometimes make more financial sense than buying a home. Right now, that might be the case. These past resource rich posts will help you decide:


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