Historic properties are different from other homes. Whether your client wants to sell a piece of history or buy one, here’s what you should know about these unique properties.
Old may not be historic. Homes can be very old and not be considered officially historic. Property owners must apply to be officially recognized by the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The state honors buildings that are worthy of preservation for their architectural and historic associations.
Historic may not be that old. Homes must be at least 50 years old to be deemed historic. A significant home built in 1970 would qualify this year.
Know your designations. Texas recognizes different designations: the National Register of Historic Places, Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks, State Antiquities Landmarks, and National Historic Landmarks. These designations may restrict what a homeowner can do with the property, such as requiring owners to maintain the property and notifying THC of any alterations. Some homes may be eligible for state and federal tax benefits for historic rehabilitation, as well as lower property taxes.
Look locally. Your city may recognize local history through historic landmarks or districts. These districts may have regulations to preserve an area’s character. Homes in historic districts may be subject to special requirements such as limiting exterior renovations or requiring maintenance. These homes may also receive tax abatements. Buyer clients will want to check with local planning and zoning departments to learn what rules may apply.
Expect attention. A charming older home has a lot of curb appeal. Walking tours pass by architecturally significant homes and historic districts. Your client’s home may be photographed. Other considerations to discuss include loitering, privacy, security, and street parking.
Find the right price. It may be difficult to put a price on history. When possible, look at comparable properties nearby with the same architectural style built around the same time. Be sure to take condition into account.
Set expectations. Sellers need to understand that the market for historic homes may differ from the market for other homes. Buyers should consider whether they are ready for idiosyncrasies that often accompany historic homes, like smaller rooms, less storage, and expensive repairs because of non-standard items.