Considering Buying a Historic Home? Consider This First

April 15, 2021
Considering Buying a Historic Home? Consider This First

Buying a historical home yields many perks, from owning a piece of cherished history to living in a space that is entirely unique and noteworthy. While most of these properties require a little extra work for livability, a poll conducted by Clever in 2019 showed that 68% of millennials said that they would purchase a home that needs some level of renovation, highlighting the willingness to put elbow grease into a home with a unique story.

There are notable differences between historical homes and typical fixer uppers, however, most of which has a lot to do with keeping the original character of the home. If you are looking to renovate and modernize an old home from the ground up and want to know if that is a good investment, you can check out our blog on the topic here. To breakdown if a historical home is right for you-even though that may require foregoing modern improvements-read on.

Is Every Old Home a Historic Home?

Just because a house has been around for a long time does not mean that it is a historic home. Houses with this specification are monitored by the National Park Service and listed on The National Register of Historic Places and must meet several classifications.

For eligibility, a property goes through the National Register Criteria for Evaluation, which defines historic homes by the following rubric.

Age and Integrity: The home must be at least 50 years old and look very similar to the way it did in the past.

Significance: The home must be connected to activities, developments and events of the past, which may include housing people who were important in the past, containing significant landscape or architectural history, or yielding value for archeological investigation.

If the home you want to buy checks off these boxes, then here are a few possibilities to consider.

Historic Homes Restrict Some Modifications

Because historic homes are a model of history in some way, home renovation projects can sometimes take years to complete. This is because they must be extensively reviewed in advance to ensure that the home's historic exterior is preserved. Sometimes, state and local districts even require home buyers to restore the home with historically accurate materials.

Renovations Might Be on The House…Literally

On the flipside, there may be options available to help cover your home renovations, including loans and grants specifically for historic preservation. These options are available for review by contacting the State Historic Preservation Office. The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program may also provide a 20% tax credit to restore a home for use as a rental.

Inspections Are More Important Than Ever

For significantly older homes, it is not uncommon to get at least two home inspections. On these appointments, your inspector will look to make sure that the property does not contain lead paint, or other hazardous materials that were used in homes built before 1978. Restoring homes with potentially hazardous materials falls under a process called environmental remediation, and it can be quite expensive.

You're Purchasing a Piece of History

Despite the hurdles, purchasing a historic home provides you with a piece of cherished history that you can help tell for generations to come. Here's a quick checklist to ensure that the investment is perfect for you:

  • You want to understand the history of your home more in depth, and help share that with others
  • You understand that you're not flipping a home to make it modern, but to embellish the existing charm
  • You're committed not only to being a good home owner, but also a custodian of history

Ready to purchase a home in one of Georgia's many historic neighborhoods? Check out our buying guide for the full rundown of working with Georgia's largest real estate company, and set up a consultation with one of our best-in-class real estate experts.