There’s a growing demand—especially among the affluent—for historic properties. Not only do these properties tend to retain their value well, but they also offer a unique opportunity to own a piece of history. For real estate professionals looking to take advantage of the growing demand for historic homes, however, there is a need for specialized knowledge. After all, buying or selling a historic home isn’t quite the same as buying or selling a “traditional” home.
So, what exactly designates a property as “historic,” and what are some tips real estate professionals can follow to find success in this niche?
What Constitutes a Historic Property, Anyway?
First, understand the difference between a home that’s old and one that’s actually been designated as historic. There are a number of criteria that a property must meet in order to be deemed historic by the National Register of Historic Places. This includes:
- Integrity – The property must be largely unchanged from its original design.
- Significance – The property must have some association with a historic event or development.
- Age – The property must be at least 50 years old, with rare exceptions.
Tips for Buying and Selling Historic Homes
If you get the opportunity to help a client buy or sell a historic home, there are some tips you can keep in mind to best serve your client.
1. Know the Historical Significance
Start by taking the time to research the property and what makes it historically significant. If the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it must have met the criteria for historical significance. Do your research and find out as much as possible about any noteworthy events or personalities associated with the property.
2. Emphasize the Allure of Owning (Or Selling) a Piece of History
Whether you’re representing the buyer or the seller in the transaction, it’s also important to focus on the benefits of owning or selling a piece of history. Be prepared to discuss the advantages of owning a historic home, ranging from the high resale value to the historical significance of the property.
3. Decide on Original Features vs. Modern Upgrades
If you’re helping to sell the historic home, you can help the seller decide which original features of the home are worth keeping as-is and which should be upgraded to appeal to the largest audience of prospective buyers. For example, that original kitchen may be fascinating to look at—but most buyers won’t want to work in an extremely outdated kitchen. It may be time to invest in a renovation that will modernize and improve the functionality of the space while maintaining its original charm.
4. Showcase Ornate Details and Craftsmanship
One of the best things about historic homes is that they tend to have unique features that you simply don’t find in newer builds. Features such as original doors, ornate staircases, impeccable woodwork, and even beautiful stained glass are all details that should be showcased heavily in your listing.
5. Leverage Digital Marketing
The right marketing can make a huge difference when it comes to getting the word out about a historic property that you have listed on the market. You may even want to create a dedicated website for this type of property that showcases the history of the home itself, as well as its unique features and other important details. With the right digital marketing strategy in place, you’ll encourage shares and expand your potential audience of buyers.
6. Find Your Target Market
Speaking of your audience, there are also some things you can do to pinpoint your ideal buyer. Consider, for example, offering a historical home tour of the property or even offering to host a special event at the home itself (with the owner’s permission, of course). This can be a great way to attract history-loving buyers.
7. Build the Right Relationships
Research local historical societies, preservation groups, and similar organizations in your area that may have an interest in the property itself. If you’re having trouble finding a buyer, there’s a good chance one of these groups can share your listing with the right people and help you find some leads.
8. Highlight Tax Benefits and Other Incentives
There are plenty of tax credits and other incentives available to those who own historic properties, including the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit for those who plan on renovating or making other improvements to a historic property.
Familiarize yourself with these benefits and the eligibility requirements that need to be met in order to claim them; this information can prove useful to potential buyers down the road.
Join ILHM Today For More Expert Insights!
Buying and selling historic homes requires quite a bit of specialized market knowledge—but with these tips in mind, you’ll be off to a solid start. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to join the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing to stay on top of the latest industry news and insights regarding historic properties and much more!
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