Renting & Buying Historic Homes

Posted by Steve Minino on Thursday, September 6th, 2012 at 2:59pm.

It's the mystery, history, and romance attached to historic homes that many people find attractive. For some people, renting a historical home is a good option. While renting a historic mansion is not without its challenges, it is certainly a good option for people who are unable to buy a mansion or historic home.

Whether you want to rent or buy a historic home, you will find useful information and links in this post.

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Renting Historic Homes

Unoccupied historic homes often require caretakers to help protect the home against weather, pest damage, vandalism, and fire. Sometimes societies, private organizations, or programs administered by cities will pay for the upkeep of the home and provide the caretaker with rent free accommodations within the historical building to keep it occupied. An article in The New York Times, (April 20, 2012) outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages to being a caretaker of a historic home.

People who have some historical knowledge about the home and area are often drawn to certain historical homes and make good caretakers because of their knowledge of, and interest in, the home. Being a caretaker means that you need to be especially careful not to damage the home, the home's contents, or the property. In addition, if the caretaker is residing in a historical home rent-free or paying a very low rent, the caretakers may be required to host tours and offer classes to educate the public about the property.

Some states allow people to live in and restore state-owned historic properties through resident curator programs. For more information about these programs, go here: National Trust for Historic Preservation. In some cases, residents of historic homes are required to pay for the upkeep and restoration of the historic buildings.

mansion_in_new_orleans_garden_district_425Buying Historic Homes

Because keeping historic buildings in good shape and open to the public is very costly, some cities are selling off their historic buildings. Transferring public historic buildings to private ownership is happening all over the world, not just in the United States. Read "States Offer Historic Buildings Rent-Free Through Resident Curator Programs", a Huffington Post article, May 25, 2012, to find out more information about the selling of historic buildings both in the U.S. and abroad.

If you are considering buying an historic home, now might be a very good time but be prepared for extra work and headaches because buying a historic home is usually more complicated than buying a regular home.

Historic Home Buying Tips

  1. Extra Work: Be prepared for extra work including: salvaging and repurposing original floorboards, antique brick, and other items. You may also need to update the kitchen and bathrooms and install more secure exterior doors and windows.
  2. Historic Real Estate Agent: Find a real estate agent who has been schooled in historic homes, who understands architectural styles, and who will recognize features that a historic home might offer such as "cross and bible" doors, a "garden with two rooms," or florette moldings.
  3. Historic Home Inspectors: Look for an inspector who understands historic homes.
  4. Restorations and Special Home Insurance: If restorations need to be done, you will need to check if the home is protected by a local ordinance. You may also need special home insurance designed for historic homes.
  5. Property Tax Credits: Depending on where you live, there could be property tax credits available if you buy a historic home.

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Steve Minino - Realtor, CREN

Hopkins Minino Home Team
Steve's blog
Cell: 402-990-9658


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