Five Tips if You’re Looking to Buy a Historical Home

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The aesthetic beauty of a historic home is a magnet for many home buyers. These homes are a piece of history that can literally tell a story as the architecture is unlike anything else, and has withstood the test of time.  Some historically registered homes do come with restrictions so it is important to be aware of this when you purchase. These restrictions do however help keep the property value stable and ensure that all homes are equal. Historic districts tend to have a steady property value and an active neighborhood association invested in the quality of the area. Before committing to a historic home make sure to do research on the property and the area. Below are some tips that can help you when beginning your historical home journey.

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1. Always check to confirm that the house is actually registered and recognized as a historical home.  A historic property can be registered either on a national, state and/or local registry. There are multiple ways to confirm the property.  You can contact your state historic preservation office, the community local historical societies, nonprofit preservation organizations, or the local government preservation agency.  

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2. Getting financed and loans for a historic property can be harder than conventional home buying and you may need to take an alternative route. So it is important to do some shopping when getting financed for your home and it’s insurance.  You can look into a private HUD Title 1 loan for smaller repairs and then get a 203K, rehab mortgage insurance, to go towards the purchase and cost of rehabilitation. Another option available would be getting a Fannie Mae Homestyle Renovation mortgage for the same purpose.

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3. Make sure you know if your home has restrictions and guidelines to follow. Federally registered homes are free of any restrictions however local or state registered homes have specific restrictions per their district.

 

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4. Although home inspections are not required with a historic property it is always a good idea to get one.  It is recommended to find an inspector who has experience dealing with historic homes and the issues they may present.  Homes built before 1978 have the possible presence of lead-based paint or asbestos, so it is good to find someone who knows to look for these things to keep you safe.

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5. Dealing with an older home it is best to get estimates from local contractors to see how much repairs and or restorations could cost you.  Giving yourself enough time to get estimates from different contractors ensures that you can find the most cost efficient and adequate contractor to get the job done correctly the first time without you having to overpay.

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Historic homes are a piece of history and a bright point in any community.  Making sure you have a complete understanding of what you can and can’t do with the home not only financially, but as well as district restrictions, is key before investing in this type of property. Hiring an inspector that is experienced and using your historic home network of resources will help ensure a smooth home buying experience.  And enjoy your new home as they are all one of a kind and you will be living in a piece of your town’s history. For more information on historic homes in your area call Max Haven at Remax.