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Historic Homes 101 – What You Need To Know Before Purchasing A Piece of History

Historic homes have a distinct aura that often attracts potential home buyers; however, there is a little more to purchasing a historic home than meets the eye. These unique home structures have a distinct appeal and charm, but there are actually a number of restrictions and additional expenses involved with historic properties or homes located in a historic district. From special concerns regarding the actual structure of the home to strict rehabilitation guidelines, the considerations involved in purchasing a historic home are many. In any case, potential buyers should simply be aware of the special considerations involved in purchasing a historic home before undertaking the process of purchasing. So, if you are interested in a historic home or a home currently located in a historic district, consider these things before signing on the dotted line.


Exact Location and Zoning Designation of the Home

Every city or community has specific zoning regulations, which are especially stringent in historic district. A historic district is an area in which the homes or properties have been identified by either local, state, or federal regulation as historically or architecturally significant. While each area functions differently, the main priority of a historical designation is to maintain the visual character of the designated community, which means if you purchase in the area, you will likely have to maintain the unique appearance of your home even if you undertake a renovation.

Renovation Requirements

Even though the historic charm is what drew you to the home, you may still be interested in completing a few renovations or updates to the property. Many individuals think that updates are impossible on a historic property, but the reality is it is likely just a lengthier process with additional formalities. Just be sure to define the specifics prior to purchasing should you want to complete any updates.

Tax Credits Available

Maintaining the character of historic homes is a unique aspect of the redevelopment in any community. For that reason, many local, state, and federal governments offer incentives for purchasing and rehabilitating historic properties. Look into the possibilities in your area to determine what you might be eligible for.

Utility Costs

Because historic homes have older windows, less insulation in many rooms, and less efficient plumbing and electrical systems, you’ll likely pay more in utilities. Be sure to consider the cost of utilities when determining the affordability of the home. You may also want to consider the cost compared to the added value of updating some of these systems.

Insurance Costs

Older homes are more susceptible to breakdown and require more upkeep and maintenance than newer homes, which can figure into insurance costs. Prior to buying, collaborate with your agent, the current owner, and your insurance agent to determine the potential cost of insurance on the home.


A historic home is a rich piece of history and can be a true treasure to own. Before purchasing, though, consider the nuances of a historic home and make sure you are prepared for the investment. One of our real estate agents who specializes in historic homes can be a real asset in a purchase like this, so be sure to take everything into consideration.

If you’re in the market for a historic home, give DeSelms Real Estate a call at 615-550-5565 or drop us a line today.

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