You've launched your search for a historic house, figured out how to finance it, and thoroughly checked whether it’s in good condition. Now you think you’re ready to buy -- so you’re done, right?
Well, almost. Before you sign on the dotted line, use this handy summary checklist -- the final item in our series on buying a historic home -- to make sure you've covered all your bases. (We’ll be back next week with toolkits on getting you settled into your new old house.)
[10 on Tuesday] One Last Checklist Before You Buy Your Historic Home
Photo courtesy ktylerconk, FlickrOne Last Checklist Before YouBuy Your Historic Home
It’s a good idea to devote some time to deciding if the property is trulyright for you and your family. Are you planning on making extensivechanges? These may not only be costly, but could jeopardize thehistoric status of your home.1. Is the house truly the right one?Photo courtesy Jan Tik, Flickr
Finding a house that closely matches yourlifestyle can often save time and money in thelong run. Understanding a house’s suitabilityinvolves determining how the house will beused, and how well it accommodates your livingpatterns.For example, people who like to live in roomsfilled with paintings and furniture might enjoy therichly ornamented surfaces of a Queen Anne orSecond Empire-style home. Those who preferminimal furnishings might be more drawn to anArt Deco-style house. (Parts One and Two ofour architectural style toolkits will come in handyhere.)2. Is it suited to yourlifestyle?Photo courtesy cliff1066™, Flickr
Don’t forget about examining the yard, and consider how you planto use it. Is there enough room for children to play? Are youplanning to put in a pool or tennis courts? How will these or otheradditions affect the character of the property?3. Is there enough yard space?Photo courtesy mikeatqazam, Flickr
Deed restrictions are attached to theproperty title or deed, and are saidto “run with the property” -- that is,they are passed on from owner toowner. Restrictions may dictate howa property can or cannot besubdivided and what types ofalterations are permitted.4. Are there any deedrestrictions associated withthe property?Photo courtesy dok1, Flickr
An easement is a form of deed restriction thatgives a non-possessory partial interest in theproperty to a second party, such as a nonprofit.In English, this means the property owner stillenjoys all the rights of ownership, while theeasement owner usually has the right to accessthe property (within reason, of course) withoutseeking specific permission.Examples include a public pathway easement,an open space easement, façade easement,and historic easement.5. Are there easements?Photo courtesy sandyhd, Flickr
We’ve taken you through several important steps when financingthe purchase of your historic house. Before signing a contract,make sure you have considered each one, and are prepared toprovide the necessary information and documents.6. Will you be able to finance yourpurchase?Photo courtesy Tax Credits, Flickr
While you won’t need to secure and purchase insurance beforesigning the contract, make sure you are very clear on the additionalcosts you will incur once you do. Don’t forget to check out NationalTrust Insurance Services to learn more about insurance for historichouses.7. Have you calculated the cost ofinsurance?Photo courtesy Jan Tik, Flickr
You shouldn’t sign a contract until you’ve gottenthe property appraised. An appraisal isimportant because the mortgage lender willwant to make sure the property is worth theamount of money you will be loaned. It’s also anopportunity for you to verify that the purchaseprice is reasonable.8. Has the appraised valuebeen determined?Photo courtesy Scrap Pile, Flickr
In our previous toolkit, we gave you 10 waysto informally inspect potential houses. But aprofessional house inspection is most oftenrequired by your mortgage and insurancecompanies. It’s a good idea to getprofessional opinions on your old house’swiring, plumbing, and other mechanicalsystems; you’ll also need a termiteinspection.9. Have you conducted aprofessional houseinspection?Photo courtesy Adam Caudhill, Flickr
You’ll learn about the history around you, and come to understand local, state, andfederal regulations that help preserve and enhance historic houses and theircommunities. But most importantly, you’ll discover how historic preservationcontributes to quality of life and why so many people treasure their historic houses.10. Are you ready to discover all thebenefits of owning a historic house?Photo courtesy Diana Parkhouse, Flickr
Is it the right one? Is it suited to your lifestyle? Is there enough yard space? Are there any deed restrictions? Are there any easements? Will you be able to finance it? Have you calculated the insurance costs? Has the property been appraised? Have you had a professional inspection? Are you ready to discover the benefits of owning a historic house?The Historic Home PurchaseChecklist
Ten on Tuesday features ten preservationtips each week. For more tips, visitblog.PreservationNation.org.