Considerations When Purchasing a Historic Home in Colorado

By in Properties For Sale

Buying a historic home in Colorado is not just about its age; it involves specific criteria for classification. To be recognized as a historic property, a house must be at least 50 years old (with a few exceptions) and meet one of four qualifying factors:

  • Be connected to significant historical events.
  • Be connected to notable individuals.
  • Represent a specific architectural or historical style.
  • Provide or is likely to provide important historical information.

Advantages of Buying a Historic Home in Colorado

Owning a historic home offers a truly unique experience that appeals to those with a passion for history, art, and architecture. Here are several benefits that attract homeowners to such properties.

Owning a Piece of Colorado History

For many prospective buyers, the emotional connection to a historic home is a significant draw. Those seeking a home that embodies architectural charm and historical significance find these properties particularly appealing. The distinct features and one-of-a-kind structures make these houses truly special.

Becoming Part of a Preservation-Driven Community

Purchasing a home in a historic district enables you to become a steward of history. Homeowners in these districts commit to preserving the character and heritage of their community, even if it comes at a higher cost and with certain limitations on property rights. This commitment fosters a strong sense of community and unity among residents.

Value Appreciation and Return on Investment

Surprisingly, well-preserved Colorado historic homes in meticulously maintained districts often outperform newer properties in value appreciation. The desirability of these historic neighborhoods, coupled with improvement initiatives, contribute to their increasing property values. Historic homes can be a sound investment option.

Access to Financial Assistance for Renovating a Historic Home

If the price tag of purchasing a historic home in Colorado seems daunting, don’t despair. There’s often financial assistance available for renovation costs. Start by exploring general grants for first-time homebuyers, and consult your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for region-specific renovation assistance. Additionally, the National Trust for Historic Preservation offers the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) program, which provides tax credits for rehabilitating historic buildings. Tax relief through historic preservation easements is another avenue worth considering.

Challenges of Buying a Historic Home in Colorado

While the allure of owning historic houses in Colorado is undeniable, it’s essential to be realistic and consider the potential drawbacks.

Stricter Regulations

Historic districts vary in terms of oversight. In areas with significant tourism, stringent review processes ensure architectural compatibility and historic sensitivity. Preservation regulations can be stricter than those imposed by typical homeowners’ associations. Prospective buyers must carefully review applicable preservation guidelines before making a purchase.

Complex Renovations

Additional layers of oversight inherently lengthen construction or renovation projects, as homeowners in historic districts must obtain permits for any exterior alterations, additions, or demolitions. While complex renovations are essential for preserving historical integrity, they can be seen as intrusive by those lacking a passion for history or architecture.

Increased Costs and Frequent Maintenance

Historic homes often require historically accurate renovation materials, which can significantly increase costs. While the National Register of Historic Places does not mandate renovation or upkeep, many Colorado state and local districts require homeowners to comply with community standards using historically authentic materials. Unless you possess the necessary skills and knowledge, professionals may be required for repairs and maintenance, impacting your budget accordingly.

Uncertain Return on Investment

Although historic homes with proper preservation tend to retain their value, properties or districts that aren’t well-maintained may hold less appeal to potential buyers. The long-term investment prospects of a historic home can be uncertain, but it’s worth considering the intrinsic value of living in and enjoying such a unique property.

Financing and Insurance Challenges

Prospective buyers of historic homes may encounter difficulties during the purchasing process. Scheduling appraisals and securing loans can be more challenging, as lenders may hesitate due to the unique nature of historic properties. Insurance companies may also require specialized coverage at higher costs. It’s crucial to obtain pre-approval and research insurance options in advance.

Tips for Purchasing Historic Homes in Colorado

Acquiring a historical property involves additional research and consideration. Follow these tips to help you find the right historic home for your needs:

  • Tour multiple houses to gain a better understanding of architectural styles and room layouts that appeal to you.
  • Obtain a verified approval letter to differentiate yourself from other potential buyers in competitive situations.
  • Schedule a comprehensive home inspection, ensuring the inspector has experience with older historic homes.
  • Estimate maintenance and renovation costs based on the inspection report to avoid surprises later on.
  • Familiarize yourself with the specific renovation regulations applicable to the property, as rules can vary among historic districts.

If you’re interested in purchasing a historic home in Colorado or want to explore current historic houses available, Western Land & Lifestyle Properties is here. Contact me, Robert Gash, at 970-986-2955 or rob@wesellthewest.com to start your search today.

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