What to consider before finalizing a historic home sale

Buying a home can be one of life’s most joyful and stressful experiences. However, you must take on additional due diligence when you have your heart set on a property in one of Santa Rosa’s historic districts.

These are three essential points home buyers should consider when deciding to purchase a historic home.

1. Inspections can be time-consuming

Although any home purchase should involve a thorough inspection, inspecting a historic home can take longer. In addition to finding an inspector with the appropriate experience to judge the stability of an older home, an assessment must indicate that the home meets contemporary safety standards.

2. Insurance is challenging to acquire

Insurers may be less reluctant to cover historic homes due to the costly repairs they may require. Repairs may involve few choices for acceptable materials, resulting in higher than claims reimbursements.  Still, you may qualify for historic home tax credits or grants to help offset repair costs.

3. Updates, changes and repairs require approval

Owners of homes on the historic register must commit to upholding the integrity of a property’s original design, which includes repairing and preserving original features rather than replacing them. Homeowners require approval from their district’s Cultural Heritage Board before initiating significant exterior alterations, though they may take liberties with routine maintenance such as exterior painting. In addition, some interior updates may require a permit if they involve updating systems like heating or electrical.

Owning a home in one of Santa Rosa’s historic districts may involve significant work and rigid adherence to local maintenance standards. However, the satisfaction and joy that accompanies preserving an irreplaceable structure from the past make historic homeownership enticing to many prospective buyers.