What You Need to Know About Historic Preservation

The thought of working in an historic building has a certain irresistible charm. Just walking through the rooms inevitably makes you wonder about the lives of the people who came before you and the events that may have transpired where you are now standing. If these walls could talk, right?

But owning a property that is deemed “historical” does come with certain challenges, so here are 4 questions you should ask before taking the plunge.

Is the property listed with the National Register of Historic Places?

The National Register of Historic Places is the official Federal list of all districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects with significant value to American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. If your property is listed, it could help with your preservation plans because in addition to honorific recognition, your property would be entitled to:

Tax provisions

According to the National Park Service, owners of listed properties may be entitled to a 20% rehabilitation tax credit, which equals 20% of the amount spent on the “certified rehabilitation of income-producing certified historic structures”. This applies to any project approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

Federal grant qualifications for historic preservation

When money is available, there are several Federal and State grant programs that can help you fund your historic preservation project. Most of these grants apply to historic properties owned by local governments and local non-profit organizations and not private individuals, so check out your State Historic Preservation Office to find out more.

What changes or modifications are allowed?

The rules, restrictions, and regulations for historic property owners vary from state to state, but one thing remains the same: you must run your plans by the local Historic Preservation Office before getting started. Any external changes, including paint color and window type, are often strictly regulated. Also, if you were hoping to add on a fully-equipped kitchen or change up the interior layout without keeping the historic value in mind, you could end up devaluing the building or shelling out additional money to correct the problem.

What kind of repairs are needed?

If your historic property needs extensive repairs, costs can add up fast. You need to maintain the historic authenticity of the property, so repairs are often limited to replacing like with like, which is not always the most cost-efficient solution. Window restoration, for example, can be quite the process since you cannot simply remove the old windows and replace them with the latest energy-efficient products. Attention to detail is key in any historic preservation project, so beware of buying a property that needs a lot of work if you don’t have the available funds to properly complete the repairs.

Is there a historic preservation easement in place?

A historic preservation easement protects the historic integrity of the property and restricts what can happen to the property, meaning that if your property already has one in place you will have adhere to all terms, conditions, and payments. The upside: your easement payment may qualify for a federal tax deduction.

If you have decided to go ahead with your historic preservation project, contacting a qualified preservation company in Bound Brook, NJ to handle your repairs is a great place to start.

Give the historic preservation experts at George Rullo and Associates a call at 732-810-1049 today!