Pros and Cons of Owning a Home in a Historic District
Buying a home within a local, state or national historic district most likely means you’re buying into a fascinating neighborhood with important history behind it. But along with the great past of your new home, there are all sorts of opportunities as well as important considerations to keep in mind.
Understand the Limits
Check with your real estate agent or local city government to understand what you can or can’t do to your home. Some cities have specific permits or building codes for historic districts that cover such areas: potential add-ons, types of windows allowed or various other exterior improvements on a historic home.
Take Advantage of the Savings
Many districts have tax incentives available for those that rehabilitate their home using approved standards. Some of these incentives have fairly distinct time requirements so check out all the rules in advance to maximize the possibilities.
Research Your Home
Most local libraries have a wealth of information on historic homes. Finding original photos of your home not only will impress your guests, but can also help you assess potential improvements to match up your home to its original look and feel.
You’ll Be Surprised
Whether you like to do it yourself or have others help you, odds are you’ll find something unexpected when you take on a home improvement project. Often, new homeowners of historic homes find things ranging from beautiful wainscoting behind wallboards or original woodwork sandwiched in between studs, behind a wall. The general rule is if you find it — make use of it!
Looking to buy your own historic home? Here’s a sampling of a few on the market:
1102 N M St., Tacoma WA (below)
For sale: $469,000
Built in 1929, this Mediterranean-style home listed on the Tacoma real estate market is immaculate with several new and updated features, including a “professional working” kitchen with Viking appliances and plenty of room for preparation and entertaining. The home also features a formal dining with French doors that open out to a balcony and gas fireplace. The master suite has French doors opening out to a covered patio and backyard fountain.
401 E Grove St, Bloomington IL (below)
For sale: $274,900
A recent $5,000 price cut makes this historical piece of Bloomington real estate affordable. Built in 1874, this Victorian has been restored with 21st century amenities, while retaining the home’s 19th century appeal. The kitchen has granite countertops, a large butler’s pantry and adjacent eating area with fireplace. The 4,039-square-foot home has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.
23 Houston St., Savannah GA (below)
For Sale: $795,000
Constructed in 1802, this historic home in Savannah is the oldest piece of real estate on the list. With 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, the home offers over 3,000 square feet of living with a large kitchen, formal dining room and garden level family room. The home retains much of its original features, including hardwood floors, four fireplaces and an open architectural staircase.