Historic homes have a charm and it can be really easy to fall in love with them. Often, they don’t cost much more than a non-historic house with similar features. However, there are some things that you should know before buying a historic home, or purchasing a house in a historic neighborhood district. 

What is a Historic Home?

A home could be labeled historic for a variety of reasons. It can be a particularly mansion, the birthplace or former home of a famous person, a house with an interesting history, a structure designed by a famous architect, and other similar reasons. 

However the home was determined to be historic, though, a smart home buyer will verify and research to make sure that the designation is legitimate. There are a variety websites and other resources available that can help with research, such as your local community’s public records and the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). 

Pros & Cons of Buying a Historical Home

There are both pros and cons when it comes to buying a historic home. The benefits and drawbacks should be carefully considered before moving forward with the purchase of a historic home. 

Benefits: 

You get to live in a piece of local history. 
They’re often very beautiful or incredibly unique in appearance.
State and local governments may offer tax incentives or lower interest loans to purchase, preserve or restore a historical home.
Depending on the home, you may be able to make a little money by opening the home for weddings or tours.
They are great topics for conversation. 

Drawbacks:

The home could have structural issues or hazards like mold or lead paint. 
Upkeep and maintenance may be more expensive.
You may need to adhere to strict guidelines, rule or restrictions as far as renovations, remodeling and other alterations. 
If you are able to make alterations, you may need to hire expert professionals and preservationists to carry out the work.
You will likely need home insurance specifically geared towards protecting a home of historical significance. 
Potentially unwanted attention by fellow historical house buffs. 

Tips for Buying a Historic Home

If you are ready to buy a historic property, there are some things you should do before you make the purchase in order to get the most out of your investment. 

Do your due diligence to determine that the home is in fact a registered historic home.
Understand why the home is significant to get an idea of what you’re preserving when you make the purchase. 
Have an independent home inspector with historic home experience to assess the current state of the home.
Realize that some things may need to be done just to bring the home up to code. 
After the home inspector assesses what isn’t up to code, a you’ll need a licensed contractor to give an estimate and do the work - ideally someone who specializes in historic home preservation and restoration.
Use the resources mentioned in this post and others that may be available to you to help you get the resources you need and determine if moving forward with the purchase is the right thing for you – and the home. 

Buying a historic home isn’t for everyone. Some people really want to own a piece of history, though, and preserve it for future generations. If it sounds like too much work, restrictions and expense, you may want to pass on the opportunity. If buying a home is something that interests you and you have the resources, though, go ahead and try for it! Without people like you, willing to put in the work and money, some of our history could very well be lost to disrepair.

If you’re looking to buy a historic home, you’ll need the help of an expert with experience in historical properties. HomeVisor can help you find a real estate agent to fit your needs.