Heritage homes create a lot of interest among the buyers, but many are afraid to make a purchase because they believe they are too much work. As architecturally important and culturally significant parts of the community, heritage homes come with certain limitations and responsibilities. However, not everything is so constricting and if you are buying a heritage home, here are some things to have in mind before you do.
Ask your real estate agents all the questions
When you are buying a house, the real estate agent is your best friend and in case of heritage homes – even more so. Not all heritage homes are the same and you need to know in what state they are and how much you can renovate. It’s a real estate agent’s obligation to disclose everything they know about the property but you will certainly have other questions that someone like them can answer.
Some of the questions should be if anyone in the neighborhood already did renovations on their heritage home and will you be able to sell the property for a better price after renovating. Also, make sure that you get information about all adjoining properties to the heritage home that you may or may not make changes to. Some heritage limitations may only include the house while you can build in the backyard and remodel other buildings on the property.
Heritage homes are almost always old houses
Heritage homes are always old houses and that is the fact. However, their state will depend on the previous owners as well as when they were built and materials used. Usually, you can easily find out what to expect from heritage homes of a certain age based on the history of the construction of the area.
That will also tell you what kind of additional works you will have to do, like waterproofing and other measures to avoid water damage. Another thing to pay attention to is that heritage designation is somewhat new so house may have undergone some renovations before receiving it. Hiring a home inspector with expertise in heritage properties to examine the house is, therefore, a prudent idea that can save you a lot of trouble.
Renovating is still possible, but to a limited scale
First of all, you can’t do the renovations by yourself especially when it comes to the exterior. The regulations say that the materials and design can’t be changed or impaired, so you will need to introduce a contractor with experience in heritage homes. For example, if the roof is damaged, you need a professional who will use heritage tiles to make the repairs since any other type would be a violation of the law.
What you can do on the house depends on the necessity of works that the heritage home requires. Any damage needs to be taken care off in order to preserve the structure, just not in the same way you would do on standard houses. On the other hand, renovating the exterior is not allowed if there is no damage but you desire to improve the aesthetic appearance of the property.
You will have to ask the approval from the local committee
In order to get permits to do renovations as well as to find out what you are allowed to do, you need to ask approval from the local committee. Basically, any change you want to make to the façade, materials to use for gate and roof, as well as other possible works, need the approval of the committee. The planner department will help you with the issue and advice you on the measures you can take to renovate.
Since the planning department will require the development of architectural plans by someone who is an expert in the heritage property, you should be prepared for extra costs. However, you will also have to plan the budget for materials which are also heritage-specific and need approval from the planner department of the local council. It’s important to have the funds so that you can finish the renovations as fast as possible to minimally expose heritage home to the weather conditions.
Before buying a heritage home, there are several aspects to observe and have in mind. Owning a heritage property is not problematic if you know what to expect. In the end, you will be a proud owner of the unique property with a rich history and distinctive architecture.