Serving the Hudson Valley

Owning a Historic Home

Posted On: May 18, 2017

Have you fallen in love with a registered historic home or a home located in a historic district? We get it; being the owner of a charming, one-of-a-kind home sounds appealing. But before becoming a proud owner, be sure you consider some of the challenges that may accompany such a decision.

Historic Districts:

 Although historic districts tend to be beautiful places to live, rich in character and class, they often have expectations – or in some cases, requirements – as to how you decorate your home for certain holidays or even how to properly maintain the landscaping design. Local historic societies or civic groups may ask that you open the doors of you home for special occasions or historical anniversaries. Some neighborhoods hold tradition in higher regard than others, so be sure you make a point of understanding the expectations of your new neighbors before you decide to purchase a home in a historic district.

Historic Preservation:

In order to maintain historic integrity of a home, options to renovate are often very limited. Home buyers will need to obtain special permits that are subject to certain restrictions. Rarely are homeowners permitted to add square footage or extra stories. Things like windows, shutters, and roofs will most likely need to be preserved or replaced in kind. This can often be very expensive, as original building materials may no longer be readily available. Finding a qualified contractor that is equipped to renovate a historic home and is able to pay mind to the small, architectural details can also often be a challenge.

Financing & Insurance:

It is certainly not impossible to finance a historic home, even for first-time homebuyers, but keep in mind that some lenders might hesitate if the home is in need of hefty repairs. If a traditional loan is off the table, you may consider a rehab loan and may need to purchase additional rehab mortgage insurance. A rehab loan, also referred to as a renovation loan, enables homebuyers and homeowners to finance both the purchase or refinance along with the renovation of a home through a single mortgage.

There will always be a need for people to care for and save historic homes, and the benefits that come along with owning a historic home with original character are abundant. Just remember that owning a historic home comes with responsibility, and that it may not be for everyone.