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If you own a historic home, you likely take pride in its unique architecture and rich history. But, what if the time has come for much-needed modern updates? Sorting through the regulations surrounding historic home remodeling may seem like a daunting task, but with a few phone calls and some research, you can be well on your way to renovating your home.
1. Confirm your home is considered a historic property
Most homes granted a historic designation are at least 50 years old and are deemed historically significant based on criteria such as unique architecture, a major event that occurred there or a famous person who lived there. A home can be granted historical designation on three different levels – federal, state and local. Each level has its own restrictions and requirements for which properties qualify. Contact your city or state governments to check on local and state designations, or the National Register of Historic Places for federal designation. If you don’t find your home listed as historic at any of these levels, you probably won’t face restrictions when you remodel. However, there may be federal aid available to historic home owners who are remodeling, so it may be worthwhile to find out how to get your house a historical designation.
2. Research historic home remodeling restrictions
Once you’ve determined whether your home has historic designation under the federal, state or local level, you’ll need to find out what remodeling restrictions are in place. While federal law does not impose restrictions on properties that don’t receive federal funding, state or local municipalities might. You should contact the National Register of Historic Places to confirm whether or not your home is subject to federal restrictions, or the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to find out about state-level restrictions. The most common limits to historic home remodels are those that alter the historic architecture such as major additions, upgrades to windows, and siding or roofing made of modern materials.
3. Determine what to renovate
The extent of your historic home remodeling project will be determined by the federal, state or local restrictions highlighted above. Whatever you decide to renovate, it’s important to research your home’s time period to gain a better knowledge of both the interior and exterior aesthetics it represents. Staying true to that era will help preserve your home’s historical significance. Plus, it’s still possible to update things such as plumbing, windows, and heating and cooling elements so your family can enjoy modern convenience and comfort while maintaining the home’s historic integrity. Consult a contractor who is skilled in historic home remodeling to ensure this.
4. Find out if funding is available
For some historic homes, government funding may be available for renovations in the form of tax breaks, loans and grants. Again, this will differ based on whether the home is designated at the federal, state or local level. You should contact the respective government office to inquire what, if any, assistance is available.
If your home is not eligible for government assistance or what you receive doesn’t cover the full cost, you may consider using a home equity loan or line of credit to pay for the remodel. Compare home equity loan rates and repayment structures to determine if this financing option makes sense for you. Not only will it afford you the necessary funds for electric, heating and roofing upgrades, but it may also give you the added benefit of providing a greater return on your investment since your historic home remodel will likely increase the value of your home.
Sponsored content was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.