Hurricanes and Historic Properties

With Hurricane Season in mid-swing there are many properties that are in harms way.  While it is heartbreaking to see historic properties affected by a hurricane it does happen.  I can think first of New Orleans and the surrounding areas when Hurricane Katrina devastated an entire region.  While a catastrophic storm brings a whole set of it’s own issues even a tropical storm can cause damage.  Here are some things to know if your historic property is subjected to a storm.

  • Each SHPO should have a “Damage Report” that can be filled out and sent in.  Some basic questions that you may find on the report are:  Name and location of your property.  Historic District your property is located in.  What kind of damage did the building sustain?  Will all of the damage be covered by your insurance?  If not, how much money do you anticipate having to spend out of pocket?  Can the SHPO be of assistance in assessing the damage and advising you on repairs?
  • Your state specific HPO can provide technical restoration assistance such as vital records regarding your property, guidance in seeking qualified restoration architects and contractors, on-site inspections and free phone consultations. 
  • Your home does NOT have to be on the register (but must be at least 50 years old) however, special consideration will be given to properties that are already on the register.
  • The Office of State Archeology can be invaluable when assistance is needed with exposed once-buried features such as old wells, foundations, privies and cellars.   (Preceeding link is for North Carolina)
  • Emergency Procedures for State Tax Credits following a natural disaster are usually implemented in each state.  In North Carolina there is a 30 day window once an area has been declared as a disaster area in which a historic property owner can receive verbal approval for emergency repairs provided the property qualifies for rehabilitation tax credits.  Be very careful – very detailed information is needed following the verbal approval.  Photographs of damage and detailed damage information is a MUST!

While I sincerely hope that your historic property is NEVER affected by a natural disaster it is always good to be prepared for the aftermath.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to call me or email me anytime!

Is A Historic Home Right For you? Part II Tax Incentives and Financing

In Is A Historic Home Right For You? Part I we reviewed what the definition of a Historic Home is as well as some resources available in finding a historic home.  In Is A Historic Home Right For You?  Part II I thought it would be beneficial to understand the Financial Assistance that is available for purchasing a historic home in addition to exploring incentives that are available for restoring a historic home.

One huge incentive for purchasing a historic property comes in the form of a Tax Credit.  It is extremely important to note here that each state varies with their requirements for a tax credit in what it can be used for and also the amount!  For the purpose of this post I will be applying the requirements and nuances specific to North Carolina for residential properties.  There are additional guidlines for commercial buildings, income-producing properties and unique properties such as restoring mills and lighthouses.

Tax Credits:  North Carolina offers a 30% tax credit for qualifying rehabilitations for non-income producing properties that are to be utilized for personal residence.  Please note that a home must be listed on the National Register for it to receive the credit.  A homeowner may start work prior to the inclusion on the National Register but there must be evidence of intent to have the home listed on the National Register.  It is strongly advised that homeowners secure the listing on the National Register before claiming the credit.  There is no equivalent Federal Tax Credit for such rehabilitations, however there are Preservation Easements.

Preservation Easements:  While the exact definition of a Preservation Easement will be discussed in Part III it is relavent to mention here that there is a Federal Tax Credit available for Preservation Easements which are in addition to the State Tax Credits.   (Again, this is specific to North Carolina)

FHA Streamlined 203(k) Limited Repair Program:  Another disclaimer for you – I AM NOT A MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL!  However, I can relay the information as I know it and for further details you should consult a mortgage professional.  The FHA Streamlined 203(k) Limited Repair Program permits homebuyers to finance up to an additional $35,000 into their mortgage to improve or upgrade their home prior to move-in.  In addition to the Streamlined 203(k) there is the FHA 203(k) which is much more detailed and has more nuances, twists and turns than this post will permit.  For more information I suggest that you visit U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development AND consult a mortgage professional.

By no means does this post encompass all that is available to an individual that wishes to purchase and restore or maintain a historic property.  For more information I would suggest that you visit the following sites:

Thanks for following along and I hope that the information I have provided will assist you in your research.  If you are interested in purchasing a historic home in my area I would be delighted to help you navigate the path to finding the right home and exploring the options that are available to you! 

Is a Historic Home Right For You?  Part III will be coming soon and I will be detailing how to get your historic home certified as well as defining a Preservation Easement and what it means to you.

Historic opportunities are abundant in My Back Yard….

PS – The home picture used in this post is one of my favorites.  The owner has graciously allowed me to visit him this evening to interview him regarding the property’s history and take pictures.  It will be very exciting and I can’t wait to share it all with you!