Inner-City Homes: Things To Consider When Buying A Historic Home

Inner-City Homes: Things To Consider When Buying A Historic Home

Many inner-city buyers love the sleek glass and steel of gleaming downtown highrises, the contemporary architecture of infills, and the worry-free living of brand-new builds. But certain buyers are seeking a different kind of inner-city home: beautiful, gracious, and charming century-old houses. Despite its reputation as a relatively young city, Calgary boasts a surprising number of historic homes, many of these in the core neighbourhoods from which the city has sprawled. For buyers who long for grand stone fireplaces, enduring brick facades, substantial, intricate baseboards and window casings, leaded-glass windows, and the type of character and craftsmanship you just don’t see today, historic houses call them home. Buying an older home might be a dream, but before you put in your offer, consider these things so your inner-city home purchase doesn’t turn into a nightmare!

Considerations When Buying An Inner-City Historic Home

Historic inner-city homes in Calgary can range from completely rehabilitated estates to homes that are basically priced for land value only. Some buyers are seeking a move-in-ready historic home that has already been updated with current comforts and technologies. Other, more ambitious buyers may be looking for a project, a home where they can restore some of the original features and character while making the house comfortable for the ways families live today. Still others may look for historic homes that have been well-kept for decades without any of today’s modern amenities. Before you begin your home search, ask yourself exactly what you are expecting in a historic home, establish your all-in budget, find an inner-city Realtor® who understands the unique intricacies of buying historic homes, and consider some of these challenges of owning an old home.

General upkeep expenses are something that all homeowners need to be prepared for. Even condo and apartment owners will have to paint walls, replace carpet, and update appliances occasionally. But if you are looking to purchase a historic home, chances are your annual maintenance costs will be higher than average. Unless you undertake a comprehensive renovation, consider that your roof, exterior, infrastructure, and landscaping are all already aged and expensive home repairs will happen.

Renovations And Updating Infrastructure
A home inspection condition when you make an offer will help you gain some clarity on the hidden infrastructure in your historic inner-city home. Old furnaces and heating systems, out-dated electrical wiring and plumbing, roofs and exterior finishes, inefficient windows, and more may not be up-to-date or may have been cosmetically repaired by a previous homeowner. Make sure you factor in these potential costs so you are not left without the finances to repair them if necessary. And renovations for old homes can be costlier than similar updates on newer homes. Matching antique trim when replacing damaged areas, updating an old fireplace to gas, attempting to replace flooring only to discover that the subfloor is insufficient; renovations on historic homes tend to be more complicated and a lot more expensive.

Historic Guidelines
Another important consideration when purchasing a historic inner-city home that you plan to rehab or renovate: municipal heritage preservation strategies. Many cities, Calgary included, have worked hard to design policies and programs to designate, protect, preserve, and support historic sites and buildings. The good news is that there may be financial and informational incentives and resources you can take advantage of. The not-so-good news is that you may have to apply for special permits to make changes to your home and property and abide by certain guidelines and restrictions that are meant to conserve the integrity of Calgary’s history.

Some buyers purchase heritage homes with the goal of completely modernizing the house in a past-meets-future renovation. Other buyers want to keep the original features that they feel gives the home its unique charm. There are inner-city homes that meet both of these criteria. But if you are hoping to preserve the original features, there are some lifestyle and design factors to consider. Older homes tend to have small closets making storage a challenge, bathrooms are also smaller (double vanities may not be possible), floor plans are more “divided” than “open”, and narrower doorways, stairways,  and hallways can limit your furniture choices. 



Find The Perfect Historic Inner-City Home With A Calgary Realtor®


Whether you are looking for a historic home to restore to its original splendour or a beautiful, stately home that has already been thoughtfully rehabilitated, your dream home can be found in Calgary’s inner city. The first step is to partner with an inner-city Realtor® who can help you navigate the process of finding a heritage home that meets your goals. 

The team of Realtors® at the Tanya Eklund Group specializes in inner-city homes because we, too, live here, work here, play here, and raise our families here.  A team of inner-city specialists is your best resource when buying an older home or a brand new build in Calgary’s downtown core. The Tanya Eklund Group team specializes in more than just the inner city, we are a dynamic, full-service team with extensive knowledge of the entire Calgary real estate market. We have cultivated a network of buyers, sellers, and support players so we can guide you through every step of the process with the most skilled professionals. And we are masterful negotiators ensuring that every offer is fair and favourable for our clients. Reach out to our team at (403) 863-7434 or through our contact form and let’s talk about what home means to you.


Absolutely! Selling and buying at the same time can be tricky to navigate. Some buyers need to complete the sale of their current property before they can even begin to look at new homes. But there are also strategies to bridge the time between selling and buying so you are not left scrambling to find a new place or without a roof over your head after you sell. We can help you figure out the best way to time your sale and purchase so it is as easy and seamless as possible.
For more information read Buying A New Home While Selling Yours: Tips From A Realtor®.


Referrals and recommendations from friends and family are the best starting point. Consider finding an agent who is committed to your education, who is patient, and who is prepared to walk you through the process, step-by-step. The Tanya Eklund Group is committed to providing our clients with an elevated real estate experience and sharing our knowledge, connections, experience, and resources to help you find the most ideal home for you.

Yes, there really are! If it is your dream to purchase and rehabilitate a Calgary heritage home, there are grants available to help historic property owners restore and preserve these important pieces of our city’s past. The Tanya Eklund Group is passionate about our inner-city neighbourhoods; we live here too. We would love to be your partner and your guide as you search for your perfect historic inner-city home. For more information on Calgary’s Heritage Grant Program, click here.

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The Best Choice in Real Estate

The Tanya Eklund Group is a team of highly knowledgeable, skilled, real estate professionals. Our team concept allows us to offer a full-service, elevated buying or selling experience to our clients. But most importantly, we are dedicated to building trusted and loyal relationships with our clients. Connect with us to share your real estate goals, and we will share with you why we are the perfect team to make them happen. 

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