Rehab for 1840s Home

1 Reply

Hi BP,

I am looking doing some preliminary analysis on a few small multi-families (2 -3 units) and have noticed a number of multi unit homes that are from the 1840s - 1900s that appear to have decent Cash on Cash ROI. When I run 4 of them through the rental calculator I am seeing 10.5% - 14% COCR depending on what I am putting in for repairs which is my largest variable in this analysis. Most of these homes appear to need some work and I am running preliminary numbers with $15k-20k per unit.

I have 2 questions.

1. What are key areas of a rehab for this age category (100-150 years old) of a home should I be looking at more closely than a 20 or 30 year old home for rehab.  I am trying to understand areas of risk that could make the repairs way higher than I am anticipating.

2.  My plan is to buy and hold for at least 3 - 5 years as I am building up my portfolio.  However if / when I want to exit are there any concerns about selling this age of home?  The neighborhood is B / B- and I believe it will remain a decent rental location due to efforts to rebuild this town and other towns close by to try and get college grads to stick around (major state university is 25 minutes away).  

Thank you for the feedback.


Have there been updated at all in the past 30 years?  All the rentals I've owned have been from the early 1900s (most duplexes in my area are from that era or earlier) and they've worked out great for me.  I actually find the building quality to often times be higher than mid-century houses.  

Some of the things you'll want to watch out for are knob and tube or aluminum wiring, lead paint, pipes that are extremely old (cast iron drain pipes can last 100 years but many types have a shorter lifespan), when was the roof last repaired, how old is the hvac, asbestos, old chimneys or stone foundations sometimes need to be re-pointed.  Insulation standards were nil back then so you may need that.  Another thing to be aware of is that often older walls and ceilings are plaster based and if there are cracks or holes, they may need to be replaced with drywall unless you can find someone to re-plaster which probably isnt worth it.  

Make sure your inspector is familiar with the typical problems these older homes can present.