Financing Old Farm Houses

American dream now includes antique homes in idyllic settings.

| January 18, 2008

  • Old farmhouse
    Old farm houses have plenty of character.
    Photo by

  • Old farmhouse

BLUE GRASS, VIRGINIA — Many city-bound Americans see themselves eventually owning an older house in the country. As they dream of a second home or a retirement spot, they see large shade trees, a big front porch, lots of room inside and out, and peaceful surroundings.

The wood-frame farmhouses we associate with Norman Rockwell’s America were built from the 1850s through the 1930s. Millions of white, clapboard-sided farmhouses were built across the country in the 75 years before World War II.

The best please the eye; they’re well-sited with balanced proportions. Many have porches designed for swing-sitting, but are often used for the year-round “temporary” storage of grills.

Within this group, country buyers will find everything from a barely standing wreck to a newly painted pageant hopeful. In between, you might find: The Project, with the next task not even close to last on the list; The DIY Fixer-Upper, in which a hostile break-up may occur depending on how much work you schedule for the two of you to do together; and, finally, the Goldilocks, which gives you just enough excuse to buy $20,000 worth of tools and only enough projects to hammer your thumb once.

The good news is that if you throw enough money at an old country house, you’ll eventually get something you like. Remodeling budgets on such places tend to be exceeded, however.

Many believe that country houses express the personalities of their owners, particularly newcomers. Keep this in mind when choosing exterior colors.

Jean Teller
6/23/2009 3:28:01 PM

Hi, Jackie - this one's a bit out of our area of expertise. You might check the website mentioned at the end of the article, and contact the author through his website. Or conduct a search online regarding FHA loans. Perhaps conversations with local Realtors or others who have purchased a home from that era would be a method of gathering information. Good luck!

6/22/2009 2:03:10 PM

We are trying to finance an older (1870's) thru FHA. Is this even feasible?

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