A pierced tin backsplash. A Malm fireplace. A clawfoot tub where you can soak the day away. When it comes to vintage features, it’s easy to dream about displaying these blasts from the past in your home. But are they actually worth the investment?
When the time comes to sell your property, some unique retro features can add tremendous value to your home. Unfortunately, others can make selling a little bit harder. I turned to a few real estate agents to weigh in on the vintage accents that will bring the greatest return on investment come moving day.
The most worthwhile vintage features aren’t always the larger ones that catch your attention. Instead, the subtle reminders of a home’s superior construction can be of great value.
“The functional picture rail, the fireplace tile, and the pocket doors are all components that will have potential to retain timeless value if they are restored, rather than replaced,” says Kate Ziegler, a Realtor with Arborview Realty in Boston and with Coldwell Banker Lifestyles in New London, New Hampshire.
She also cites built-in hutches and leaded or stained glass windows as vintage features that deserve the time and care of revitalization. It’s tough to recreate the magic of these pieces in the present day, which is why the originals are so coveted.
“You can’t make new old friends, and you can’t add new old details to a historic home,” she adds.
If you have a period-style home and want to maintain that look and feel, consider opting for high-quality classics, like an AGA range in the kitchen, or vintage-looking lighting fixtures like the type from Schoolhouse Electric, says Leslie MacKinnon, a Realtor with Compass in Boston. She also suggests keeping your eyes open for one-of-a-kind sinks, which can be tremendously attractive to prospective buyers.
“Is there a cool slate sink in the basement of the house? Restore it and bring it to the kitchen,” says Mackinnon. “Do you have an old ceramic coated-sink in the kitchen or bath? Hire a refinishing company to come in and restore it. The elements you need to enhance value and aesthetics may actually already be in the home.”
Just be sure that you keep things period-appropriate. For instance, don’t invest major money on a stunning Victorian door when you live in a 1960s kit home.
“The older doors never make sense in a building 70+ years younger, and I continue to resist the temptation to mix older features with newer homes,” Ziegler says. “Save yourself the heartache of a blank slate, and work within the constraints of what your home is; you don’t need to make it something it isn’t for future buyers to appreciate it.”
A mindful and historically accurate restoration is key. Just remember that the homebuyers who will appreciate those updates will be scrutinizing the work done.
“Homebuyers do a careful edit upon purchasing,” says MacKinnon. “Mantles, doors, hardware, and woodwork… are showstoppers in homes, and maintaining their integrity will only appeal to future buyers.”
This piece is part of Throwback Month, where we’re revisiting vintage styles, homes, and all kinds of groovy, retro home ideas. Boogie on over here to read more!