For homeowners, a historic home is a unique opportunity to live in a local piece of history. They do, however, have issues that newly constructed homes do not have. Committing to a historic home is a big decision and you should be informed of the care that will be required.
What is a Historic Home?
They’re 50+-year-old residential buildings with some sort of heritage value and include private homes, commercial buildings that consist of residential units, landmarks, and entire districts or neighborhoods depending on criteria. The criteria is at least 50 years old (with some exceptions) and meet 1 of 4 criteria:
- It is connected to significant historical events.
- It is connected to the lives of one or more significant individuals.
- It is considered an embodiment of a particular master or historic style.
- It has provided or is likely to provide important historical information.
Historic buildings can be found everywhere and some neighborhoods are even designated as historic areas. They can be a competitive market so as a homebuyer you’ll want your finances in order prior to house hunting.
Benefits of Owning a Historic Home
- You’ll be the owner of a piece of history and for some homebuyers, it’s an emotional investment.
- Passion for history, architecture, and one-of-a-kind features is appealing to some.
- You’ll be a part of a community committed to preservation. Buying a home in a historic area means joining a community of homeowners aiming to preserve the character and history of the district, even with costs and certain limited property rights.
- Financial assistance is available for renovations. There are programs available to help fund them
- Look into a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), purchase plus renovations mortgage, a second mortgage, or refinancing your mortgage.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
- Get ready for hard work! The older the home, the more often than not means it was built before modern construction techniques. Lots of love, care, and regular maintenance will be necessary.
- Get ready to pay more! Historic districts have higher price tags and even higher prices when modern amenities like central air conditioning have been added; even at a good price, you’ll likely invest in upgrades and renovations and materials will be more expensive.
- Restrictions on Renovations. Historic homes have their own real estate laws and regulations designed to preserve local history, such as not changing the interior layout, preserving outdoor spaces, and only using certain materials on the house’s exterior. With the stipulations, you may find it more difficult to do maintenance and renovations.
- You Can’t Modernize Everything. Historic homes have lasted through numerous decades and owners, there will often be a clash of décor elements inside the house. Preservation laws that impact interior and exterior elements often don’t apply to décor.
Historic homes are not for everyone but bring a ton of satisfaction if you’re up for a challenge! An experienced, reliable home inspector with experience working with historical homes goes a long way and will be able to detect signs that you and I might miss.
Reach out anytime with questions or for a referral! It would be a privilege to serve as your Realtor.
Source: Buying a Historic Home: What You Should Know | Re/Max | January 10th, 2023
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