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What to know about historical homes

What To Know About Historical Homes

What to know about historical homes

Drive through practically any community in Massachusetts or New Hampshire and you will see some gorgeous historic homes. From iconic first-period homes to stately structures that have been standing since the American Revolutionary War era, this region is filled with homes that have the character and charm that many home buyers seek. 

Second only to New York, Massachusetts ranks as the second highest state in the nation with registered historic homes. With over four thousand homes on the national register in our area, real estate professionals need to have a grasp of the historic home industry as well as the benefits and downfalls of buying one of these pieces of history. 

historic home

What Is A Historical Home? 

Although many homes in the New England region may look historic or at least somewhat old, they need to be (at the very least) 50 years old and retain much of the original architecture and characteristics of the original home to be considered historical. 

The National Register of Historic Places is the national organization that considers the eligibility of properties based on the age, integrity, and significance of the home/property. Not only does the home have to be older (at least 50 years) but it also must look similar to how it did in its original form and be associated with either a historical event, person, or activity or be an embodiment of a certain historical style. 

The National Register of Historic Places is a federal list on which there are currently over 95,000 places listed. States and communities can also designate a home or a district as historically significant. In Massachusetts, many of these homes have placards attached to them to denote their age and previous ownership. 

front porch on a nice day

Benefits of Owning A Historic Home

Along with understanding the process and importance of what designates a historic home, real estate professionals should have a good understanding of the benefits and downfalls of owning a special property like a historical home. 

Own A Piece of History 

Historic homes are often a labor of love for those who find value in purchasing one of these beauties. One of the main reasons buyers are often drawn to a historic home in the first place is the fact that by owning it, you own a little piece of history. This may mean that the home was previously owned by a famous historical figure, the location of a historic event or something historical occurred on the property. 

Filled With Character & Charm 

Unlike newly built homes today, historic homes have character, period details and charm that just isn’t found in homes built in this century. This tends to be seen as a major advantage to purchasing a home of this age as it becomes a focal point of the property. 

Potential Tax Credits 

Owning a historic home can also be financially rewarding. In addition to a federal tax credit administered by the National Park Service (NPS), many individual states offer Historic Preservation Tax Credits to homeowners who invest in renovating their income-producing properties (non-owner occupied homes).

Challenges of Owning A Historic Home 

While there are most certainly reasons to buy a home that is older and is linked to a historic era, there are also things that buyers should consider before signing on triage dotted line. 

Less Freedom to Personalize Your Home

One of the biggest challenges that potential buyers should be aware of is that there are usually local and federal rules that apply to historic homes in terms of making any renovations or improvements to the home. 

Additionally, any renovations that are approved by the municipalities and governing boards of historic homes in your district may require that improvements be made in a certain manner making the renovations more expensive and take longer than a normal reno would be. 

As real estate professionals, helping our clients buy a historic home may be a little more painstaking than a typical home, but most buyers are willing to take the extra steps to own a little piece of history. Remind your buyers that there may be some extra steps in the home inspection contingency clause as well as a need to have a verified approval letter for a historic home. Happy home hunting! 

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