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When you’re selling your historic brick home, you’re selling the decades-long story that comes with the property. Buyers of these properties are looking for the original character and charm along with the rich history of the house. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for some modern conveniences. At the same time, knowing where to best put your renovation dollars can help you achieve the best return on your investment, and potentially speed up the sale of your house.

Which Home Improvements Are Most Valuable When Selling?

It’s important to understand that no renovation will provide a 100% return on investment. However, renovations that are thoughtfully implemented will enable you to fetch a higher price, and may help you sell your house quicker. Your historic brick home renovation work should focus on both the interior and exterior when appropriate, to ensure you maintain the historic charm while still showcasing the curb appeal with “wow” factors that potential buyers want.


You’ll want to preserve as much of the original character of your interiors as possible. That being said, you’ll want to consider upgrading things like knob-and-tube wiring. Since modern electrical is an expectation, failing to upgrade this critical detail can either turn buyers off or result in a lower bid. 

Cosmetically, you want to avoid damaging, changing or hiding the things expected in a historic brick home. Original trim, detailed ceiling work, hardwood floors, number of bedrooms and layout are things you want to leave intact. It’s okay to use a bedroom as an office, but now isn’t the time to convert a bedroom into a laundry room. Similarly, there’s an expectation for historic brick homes to have rooms with defined separating walls. There’s no need to consider changing to an open-concept plan. However, if you’re thinking of exposing an interior brick wall, working with a historic brick expert can ensure it’s done properly and looks its best.

The best places to focus are the kitchen and bath. You don’t have to break the bank, but some modern upgrades like new countertops with a traditional backsplash, cabinet refacing, new flooring and modern appliances make a huge difference to buyers. In bathrooms, updated plumbing, new cabinetry and fresh baths and showers can entice buyers to put in a higher offer.


First impressions are everything, and selling your home is no exception. Take a look at your driveways, patios, walkways, porches and stairs and ask yourself these sorts of questions, from the point of view of a potential buyer. Are walkways and front steps in good repair, or are they uneven tripping hazards? Are your retaining walls solid and performing as they should? Finally, is the exterior brick and mortar of your historic home in the best condition possible?

Now is an excellent time to work with a historic brick expert to assess where you can best put your investment dollars. Even if you’re not putting your house on the market in the near future, repairing retaining walls and other hardscaping, like walkways, demonstrates that the house is well cared for to visitors and passers-by alike.  

Installing or upgrading a patio and creating an urban garden with attractive plantings not only adds extra charm but increases your home’s curb appeal and desirability. You can create an oasis in the middle of the city, of which most buyers dream. Wood fencing is another great investment, as additional privacy is always in demand. Traditional ironwork, where it’s appropriate, can increase the appeal to those who appreciate historic details.

Why You Should Work with an Expert

An expert in traditional tuckpointing methods for historic brick can help navigate the regulations and permits that are necessary when renovating a historic home, as well as the general bylaws surrounding home improvement. They have the skills to ensure your exterior brick, retaining walls, and hardscaping are in top condition, and install patios and fencing that will add to the overall value.

Renaissance Development, tuckpointing experts in D.C. and the surrounding areas, would welcome the opportunity to offer you a complimentary in-person consultation, whether you are considering selling or staying in your home for life. If you do make the decision to put your house on the market down the line, our team can help make sure your historic home is the one potential buyers are looking for. Please contact us with any questions or if you'd like to arrange a consultation.

Download Guide to Renovating Your Historic DC Home


Post by Christina Wilson
Mar 28, 2024 8:00:00 AM