What Makes a Property Historic?

What Makes a Property Historic?

Just because a property is old doesn’t mean it’s necessarily historic. The first question to ask is whether it’s over 50 years old. That’s the core qualification for a property to get registered through the National Register of Historic Places.

However, this is just one generic rule. There’s a lot more that goes into the process of deeming a property historic. If your client’s property fails to meet these certain qualifications, then they might not be able to get their property registered.

 Whether it’s an older property reconstructed for modern commercial use or a historically significant property that’s been preserved, here’s what you need to disclose to your clients about historic properties.

The Property Holds Significance in History

So, it’s been decided the property is over 50 years old. Now it’s time to move on. One of the first qualifications from the National Register includes defining whether the property is historically important or not before getting it registered. Has anything significant happened at this property?

In the case of a home being in your client’s family for a long time, it might not be exciting. But if your client was related to Abraham Lincoln, things might be a little different. A house in the south might be historically significant because of the clash of the civil war.

If a building was once owned by someone prominent in society (like a President, investor or public figure), then consider it historically significant. The same concept goes to commercial businesses.

Significance in Time Periods Holds Pertinence

But what if the property holds important information about a time period? It can also be considered. Whenever there’s any nod toward the importance of preserving culture and history, it can be used to get your client’s property registered.

Historic Architecture Can Hold Massive Value

The architecture matters, down to every little detail. Look for distinctive characteristics, construction techniques or other defining qualities that set the property apart. These little bits of design are incredibly crucial to many designs on historic properties. If the age, integrity and significance aren’t there, then it’s back to the drawing board.

Sometimes an entire neighborhood can register as historic. For example, a lot of old school East Coast homes are built a certain uniform way. Think of old-style railroad apartments in New York City’s Brooklyn area. These are properties that can easily qualify as a historic property. If a few houses are exactly the same and are over 50 years in age, your client is in good hands.

Once a house or building is declared a historic property, then it can get extra funding for repairs and general upkeep over the years. However, your client is also going to be subject to some strict rules and regulations for being registered. Everything matters at the local and state level, so knowing how the laws will impact the property is essential.