Six Things Old House Owners Can Be Thankful For

By: JoVon Sotak , Contributing Writer
In: Old House Musings

The nice thing about being thankful is that there is always enough thanks to go around, now matter how much you’re thankful for. That means that we can be thankful for anything and everything, even the things that we might put below the list of things that start with “family,” or “our children,” or “this food on our table.”

As old house owners and people who just love old houses, we have a lot to be thankful for. Anything I’ve missed here, please just add it as a comment. After all, there are never enough things to be thankful for. Don’t you agree?

  1. Local museums. Especially in times when budgets are lean, it’s nice to remember the local museums and the people–frequently volunteers–that are tasked with preserving local history, which may include the history of your house. If you have researched your house or any other houses in your area, you’re probably already familiar with your local museum. If you know about the history of your house, be sure that it’s shared with the museum, too.
  2. National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. It’s the Big Daddy of preservation legislation in the U.S. and it created the National Register of Historic Places, your state’s Historic Preservation Office, and those National Historic Landmarks.
  3. Other old house owners who have come before you. They are a knowledgeable bunch. If you’re up to your armpits in a project that took 43 times longer than you thought it would, sometimes it’s just nice to know that there are others who have suffered as you suffer.
  4. The Internet. Remember what it was like 15 years ago when the Internet was just becoming popular? As an old house owner, how much leg work would it have taken you to find a business that specializes in reclaimed wood that will allow you to repair that molding in your master bedroom? The Internet has made it infinitely easier for us to find the things–sometimes things we didn’t even know existed–we need to renovate or restore our homes.
  5. OldHouseWeb.com. Alright, it seems like a self-aggrandizing plug, but really, isn’t it nice to find somewhere on the Internet where those knowledgeable owners share information and reduce your learning curve? This site isn’t the only one out there for old house enthusiasts, but the community here is really something special. If you’ve forgotten how special, just spend a little bit of time in the OHW forums. They’re overflowing with support and great tips and information from people who really love old houses.
  6. Tax credits. You’ve got a month to make purchases that could result in that residential energy efficiency tax credit. It’s one of those situations where you have to spend money to save money, but if you needed to buy a new hot water heater, windows, exterior doors, central air conditioner or other qualified purchase, you may as well do it before December 31, 2010 so that you can get 30 percent of your combined energy efficient purchases credited on your tax return, up to $1,500 dollars. Don’t forget to be thankful for those other federal tax credits and other local and state tax incentives for historic homes.