If you are shopping for an old home or a home in a historic district, you probably already have a love for the charm of these one-of-a-kind homes. The stately old brick row houses found in the historic districts of the Washington DC area are certainly alluring to buyers looking for vintage homes. But historic home renovation often comes with unexpected complications and certain restrictions.
Before deciding to purchase a historic DC brick home, or buy an old brick house in a neighborhood historic district, here are some things to consider:
Advantages of Historic Home Ownership
Aside from the vintage charm and beauty, many homeowners find that holding a piece of history comes with added benefits:
- Historic brick homes have an aesthetic beauty from the distinctive architecture that has withstood the test of time.
- There are often tax incentives or lower interest loans available for purchase and restoration.
- You can participate with local preservation groups and history enthusiasts to further your knowledge of architecture and history.
The Additional Costs of Historic Homes
Before you buy:
1. Take a close look at the structure of your potential purchase. Historic homes have the problems associated with other old structures but come with additional challenges in the form of historic preservation guidelines, rules and restrictions. The restoration, repair and maintenance costs are often higher for your historic home.
2. Make sure that a complete and thorough inspection is performed by a licensed inspector or contractor. Then get estimates from local contractors for the necessary repairs and restorations. You should have a full understanding of what you can and can't do to the home and whether your budget is adequate.
Since the goal of historic home renovation is the preservation of the original construction, a home buyer wishing to renovate must obtain special permits. Here are a few of the resources that can help you in the Washington DC area:
- Capitol Hill Restoration Society - permitting and architectural styles and materials
- Renaissance Development - expertise on traditional brick restoration in DC area
- Groundswell - information on community discounts for energy saving installations
Be smart about owning a piece of history. If you've done your homework and the pros outweigh the cons for you, enjoy becoming the proud owner of a historic home.
Renaissance Development, a leader in historic home renovation and preservation, specializes in the restoration of a historic brick building’s mortar joints using traditional methods (tuckpointing) and materials. Contact us for a free site visit and project quote.