Advice on Buying Historic Homes

Buying Historic Homes

For those of us with a flair for aesthetics or a penchant for history, historic homes offer a unique chance to own something special. 

What is a Historic Home?

Typically, for a home to be considered “historic”, it needs to demonstrate rare or outstanding architecture. Typically, historic homes are at least 50 years of age, but it can be younger depending on what it represents in relation to Canadian design.

In addition, the home must be a landmark or hold historical value connected to a notable event, person, or institution in Canadian history.

Considerations for Historic Homes

When it comes to buying a historic home, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind.

The first is that there are generally special bylaws, permits, and rules for historic homes. Features such as “character-defining” elements of the home, for example, cannot be changed, destroyed, or removed. Depending on the history of the home, there may be other features that require preservation per the story of the home and its significance to history. In some cases, trees or the lawn may also be assigned for conservation.

Due to the preservation goal of historic homes, there are limited things that you can do if you purchase one in terms of renovations. There will be special considerations for any expansions or modifications that will often need to be approved to ensure it does not impact the historical aspects of the home.

Another thing to consider when looking at historic homes is merely the age of the building. This can result in more costly maintenance, especially if the home has outdated elements or structures.

A proper home inspection can help to reveal any areas that may be cause for issues in the future or advise potential updates and renovations that are doable. Overall, you want to evaluate the home to ensure it has solid bones and structural integrity.

Benefits of Historic Homes

For individuals who are highly interested in history and culture, these homes can be an incredible opportunity to own a unique piece of history. Whether from an emotional or intellectual standpoint, this can be a very fulfilling purchase resulting in a one-of-a-kind home with a special link to Canada’s past.

In addition to owning a piece of history, there are more benefits such as joining a community that is committed to preservation with like-minded individuals.

Before diving into homeownership, especially that of a historic home, it is important to ask yourself if you are ready for the responsibility of owning a culturally significant property. Ownership of these properties is a privilege and must always be treated as such.

This post was originally posted on the Dominion Lending Centres ‘Our House’ blog, the original post can be found here.

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