Owning a historic home certainly comes with its own set of benefits and challenges. You need to make sure that you are ready for the challenges and responsibilities—financially, emotionally, and even physically. Beyond its unique and charming characteristics, it is also important to determine whether the home meets your lifestyle and certain life choices.
Historic homes often close at higher sale prices because of their historical value, and many of these are in high demand in certain regions in the US. Once listings for historic homes become available, which only happens once in a while, you can be sure that there will be no shortage of buyers.
What’s the difference between an old house and a historic home?
The National Register of Historic Places, which is maintained by the National Park Service, gives historic homes their specific designation. Historic homes are included in an official list that differentiates them from ordinary old homes. These homes must also be at least 50 years old. They received their designation because of age, architectural style, and value, cultural significance, or if they were once the residence of a historically significant person. There are now over 90,000 listed historic properties in the National Register since its inception in 1966. Another organization that lists historical homes and celebrates their diverse history is the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
One of the most famous historic homes that are privately owned is The Painted Ladies in San Francisco, California, which features an iconic row of historical Victorian homes. Meanwhile, the French Quarter in New Orleans remains one of the most popular historic neighborhoods. Likewise, many famous historic homes now serve as museums and provide daily or weekly guided tours for locals and tourists alike.
Here are the pros and cons you need to weigh out before buying a historic home:
Seek help from a real estate agent – When house hunting, it’s advisable to seek help from a realtor who has experience with historic homes. Ask him or her whether or not you’re looking in a designated historic neighborhood. Your real estate agent can also educate you in advance regarding the costs and responsibilities associated with owning a historic home.
Contact your city’s development office – Before purchasing your own piece of history, do as much research as you can so that you’ll know exactly your duties and responsibilities as a homeowner. Just think that you’re studying for a particular homework assignment in History 101, so reach out to as many resources as possible. Contact your city’s development office and join online historic forums, reviews, and websites to help prepare yourself emotionally and financially.
You will learn a lot – Remember that it is not only the history of the home that you may unveil afterward, but you’ll also discover other skills and treasured life lessons along the way. The whole experience may bless you with the necessary patience, strength, perseverance, and courage, especially on taking on a restoration project that you thought you couldn’t do.
Are you in love with a historic home but not quite ready for it?
If you really want to purchase something similar to a historic home but your bank account can’t afford it, it is advisable to search for a non-historic home with similar features located outside the historical preservation area in a nearby neighborhood. Look for homes that are of the same age and have the architectural style that you love, but have not received official designation from the city or local government. That way, you can avoid the costs associated with higher property values, but that also means you won’t get tax credits and other preservation incentives available only to owners of designated historic homes.