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5 Things to Know Before Buying a Historic Home

Owning a historic home makes up the daydreams of many potential home buyers. Being able to call a small piece of history one’s own is a thrilling experience—and attracts many prospective home owners to consider purchasing a historic home or a home in a historic district. If you’re currently going through that process, or at least mulling it over, here are a few things to think about before buying a historic home.

  1. Buying a historic home can involve tax incentives. State and local governments across the U.S. often grant tax credits or lower interest mortgages for people wishing to preserve and maintain historic houses and districts. While these tax reductions may not increase your bank account tenfold, they are a nice perk of buying a historic home.
  2. Home inspection should be a top priority. Hiring a qualified home inspector or structural engineer to check out all the nooks and crannies of your historic home comes highly recommended. This is especially true if your home’s construction predates 1978, since some homes built before that time period carry the risk of lead paint or asbestos.
  3. Financing can be tricky. While it’s important to note that this is not always the case, historic homes have a penchant to give lenders pause due to the risk of unforeseen repairs and other concerns associated with older housing. This should not be alarming; it just means that you might have to do a bit of shopping for the right loan and insurance.
  4. Tread carefully when considering updates. Upkeep is one thing; however, some buyers come in with a certain vision for their homes that may run counter to the home’s historical roots. And, in some instances, changes are discouraged or downright prohibited. Many local and state laws forbid the adding of stories on historic homes, since the aim is to preserve the home’s heritage. Replacing windows, shutters, or roofs with materials not in line with the original architectural intent or style may also be prohibited.  
  5. Map out the other costs. Especially when it comes to utility bills, researching past energy payments can show you how much will be needed to heat and cool your historic home. The previous year’s statement serves as a kind of reliable marker to base future payments off of—and may need to be heeded before buying a historic home.

Despite these items to keep in mind, owning and maintaining a historic home can be an ultimately rewarding experience. Hoping to procure your own historic home? Look no further than Bill Mackey Real Estate—we offer multiple properties that have deep historical roots. If interested, call us at 334-289-3470 and we can schedule a showing. Continue reading through our blog to learn about all things real estate—including homes rich in heritage.