Buying an historic home can be exciting. With its old-world charm and unique backstory, an historic home allows you to experience living history.
But it can also come with some downsides.
“Buying in historic districts is almost like buying in a resort community because you have to ask, ‘What are the covenants? And what are the restrictions?’ In a historic district, you have to know what the local historic society allows and does not allow, and what they have to approve of,” a real estate broker with 12 years experience selling such properties told RE/MAX for a recently published blog.
Not all older homes are officially “historic.” According to the blog, “the National Register of Historic Places determines the validity of a historic property based on age and integrity, and it ensures preservation throughout its ownership… Generally, these homes must be considered crucial to the culture of a town and have some affiliation with historic events in the area.”
Denver has over 400 historic districts and landmarks, including 17th and 6th Avenue Parkways, the Amos B. Hughes House, and the Barth Hotel. If you are considering buying into one of these districts, or purchasing an historic home, here are some pros and cons:
Unique Architecture: Loaded with charm, historic homes often have lots of interesting nooks and crannies, eye-catching built-ins, beautiful pine floors and thick, plaster walls—features “unparalleled to the qualities seen in modern homes.”
Financial incentives: Various tax incentives (such as the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive for income-producing properties) and grants (for owner-occupied homes) can offset the costs required to preserve the home’s historic character.
Regulations: You may not be able to renovate the home exactly the way you wish, as states and towns generally have rules about what an owner can alter, including the house’s exterior color.
Maintenance: Older homes require attention. Electrical wiring can be outdated and need replacement; there might also be problems with the foundation, chimney, HVAC systems and drafty windows and doors.
The bottom line? “Based on your commitment to upkeep and desire for character, a historic home may or may not be right for you,” notes the RE/MAX blog.