| Surplus Warehouse
Expert Contributor

A residence is designated "architecturally significant" or historic by local historic boards, or the National Register of Historic Places, if it exemplifies or demonstrates a specific signature architectural style or is associated with famous, historic individuals or events. Historic homes radiate the essence of a particular time period that is easily recognizable by the way components of the home are constructed--windows, roofs, doorways, etc. In fact, people buying a historic house are buying a part of history that remains as beautiful and impressive as the day it was completed.


Advantages of Buying Home on the National Register of Historic Places

In addition to enjoying the charm, grace and importance of owning a historic home, people choosing to purchase an historic residence can renovate or modify their property as long as no Federal monies have been attached to their home. However, owners of historic homes should contact their state's historic preservation office before undertaking renovations to find out if any local or state preservation laws exist that may present certain restrictions regarding modifications to historic homes. If a historic property has Federal monies attached to it, owners should contact the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for further information.

Most local and state governments provide tax incentives for people buying a historic house, such as low-interest loans and tax credits meant to be used for restoring and/or preserving historic homes. Owners will need to qualify for tax incentives before they can receive them. Depending on their yearly income or down payment amount, owners may or may not qualify for reduced interest loans but will likely qualify for tax credits.

Buying a home on the National Registry of Historic Places means owners will attract people who are interested in the particular era exemplified by the home. Some historic home owners may decide to allow their home or part of their home to serve as a venue for weddings, historic club meetings or tours. This can provide funds for defraying the cost of property upkeep, especially for historic homes located on an acre or more of land. 


Tips for Buying a Historic Home

Before beginning the process of purchasing a historic home, make sure you diligently research the home by visiting the National Register of Historic Places website and visit your local courthouse for information about when your desired home was designated as historically significant. You should also contact an inspector experienced with examining older homes for signs of costly damage. Remember that even thought it might be a historic home, it will still need to comply with local and state building codes. If damage is found that requires repair, contact a licensed contractor specializing in restoration of historic homes.

Talking to previous owners of the historic home you wish to buy is also a good idea. They can give you inside information about the home regarding its true condition and whether you can expect periodic issues with its internal and external structure. Real estate agents who have been involved with historic home acquisitions are also excellent sources of information when you are considering buying a historic house.


Kimberly M. has written blogs for Orly Chen Real Estate in Bergen County, New Jersey, condominium brokers in south Florida and real estate agencies offering lease-to-own homes in West Virginia. She is well informed concerning the legal and financial aspects of real estate transactions.