A recent continuing education seminar put on by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota and Portland OR addressed how best to market old houses. It was reported on recently on the Finance & Commerce website.
“Owning and selling a historic property can be a gratifying – and lucrative – experience for property owners. But the process of determining a property’s historic status and then properly marketing it to reflect that status can make the difference between a big sale and an ordinary one.”
A key factor is that of simple economics of supply and demand. There is an ever-expanding supply of new home construction for that larger share of the market that appreciates new construction.
For that smaller but growing market for quality old houses with character in stable and improving neighborhoods in convenient proximity to community amenities, that supply is diminishing in many areas but growing to meet demand in others as property owners renovate and restore their homes.
What are best practices for selling old houses in historic districts?
- Doing your homework on the house. “All of that allows you to create a story around the property.”
Personally, I love stories. And old houses and neighborhoods have stories that simply don’t exist in suburban and new construction. Knowing the story of the house and effectively telling it adds real value to your home.
- “Some key selling points for a historic property, she said, are associated tax incentives…”
If your home is already within a historic district up to 25% of approved work can be recouped. This is significant. If though your home is outside the historic district your home may be individually registered or eligible. Marketing that your home as within a historic district communicates there are higher standards. There are some safeguards that help protect the home and neighborhood from some things that can diminish property values.
There are a number of additional points the presenters tough on. Interesting to note they emphasize how originally intact is the home.
“…be sure to highlight the property’s original elements, Davis said. Is the home’s character still intact? Are the moldings and fixtures original? Has the building been restored, as opposed to remodeled?”
Too often we see a short-sighted rip-n-replace mindset when home maintenance comes into play. This is particularly prevalent among flippers and some residents who don’t fully realize they’re actually degrading their own property. If a potential buyer is interested in an old or historic property in the first place it’s most likely they also have an appreciation for the original fabric of the house. Even if shabby and in need of repair, as long as it still exists restoration is still an option. Once removed though its often cost prohibitive to replace again with the grade of materials that have been removed…. if it’s even available at any price.
Given the current housing situation if you live in an old house the linked article on how to sell old houses is likely good information to have. Wanting to maximize your return on your home though is not unique to a slow housing market and will remain true later when things improve.
At 524 Bluff Street, Beloit WI 53511, the Lathrop Munn home in the Bluff Street Historic District was built in 1848. It’s not only the oldest home in Beloit, it holds a significant place in Beloit’s history. It’s river stone construction in the Greek Revival style is distinctive and increasingly rare in the region. Additionally the home has benefited by single-family, owner occupied loving care and maintenance for the last thirty years by its former residents.
For a community that once boasted the single largest concentration of river stone constructed homes and commercial buildings in the region totaling over thirty, Beloit is now down to just four. (The Racey house another river stone house) We’d love to see this wonderful historic home continue as an owner-occupied family home in the hands of an appreciative owner.
For Sale By Owner – Historic Beloit WI Home.
- Bedrooms: five (5)
- Full Baths: two (2 – one main floor, one upper)
- Half Baths: none (0)
- Estimated Age: Built in 1848
- Total Assess: $75,600
- Net Taxes: $1,669.90
- Living Room: 13′ x 13′
- Dining Room: 14′ x 13′
- Kitchen: 22′ x 9′
- Family/Rec: 13′ x 13′
- Mstr BedRm: 15′ x 13′
- 2nd BedRm: 16′ x 13′
- 3rd BedRm: 14′ x 10′
- 4th BedRm: 15′ x 13′
- 5th BedRm: 11′ x 9′
School District: Beloit
High: Beloit Memorial
Fireplace: Wood burning/ living room
Garage: 2+ car, detached
Fuel: Natural Gas
Heating: Hot Water
Water/Waste: Municipal water, Municipal sewer
Barrier-Free: Open floor plan, 1st floor BedRm
Notes: Historic 5 bedroom home located on Beloit’s Westside. Beautiful wooden staircase welcomes you ot the warmth and character this home has to offer. Large kitchen with second staircase to upstairs adds charm. Many original features take you back in time. This is a must see property!
To make an appointment to view this home call 608-290-0108
Or email the owners at: jbzamorris(at)aol.com
Additionally, as this home is within the historic district the home owner will be eligible for the Wis State Historic Home Owners 25% Tax Credit on approved upgrades and maintenance. You’re within walking distance of the increasingly vibrant riverfront and downtown.
“The Wisconsin Historical Society’s Division of Historic Preservation (DHP) administers a program of 25-percent state income tax credits for repair and rehabilitation of historic homes in Wisconsin.”
If you’re interested in pursuing the tax credit we’ll (the Beloit NPA) even give you a hand with the application. It’s really not so difficult.
How would you like to get a 25% tax credit on approved home repairs?
Rick D. just forwarded the following article to me about home owners in Madison who are leveraging these tax advantages to “Green” up their homes.
The Wisconsin State Journal – “Keeping Wisconsin history in good shape” on two of the sixteen households in Madison alone that have taken advantage of the program so far this year.
Brent and Lindsey Sainsbury:
… recently outfitted the back roof of their historic University Heights home with 22 photovoltaic (solar) panels….. The historic tax credit allowed me to put up more solar than I would have otherwise.
Richard and Suzanne Linton:
… refreshed the exterior of their Spaight Street Prairie Style house located in the Orton Park Historic District sooner than expected using higher-quality period-color paint thanks to the credit.
About the program:
Credits go for projects costing $10,000 or more on homes deemed historically significant (most are listed on the national or state historic register). The program offers qualified homeowners 25 percent tax credits on approved work.
Read the Wisconsin State Journal Article here.
Get the details on the Wisconsin Historic Homeowners Tax Credit Program here.
- Date: April 30, May 1, 2 2010
- Time: 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
- Presented by: Bob Yapp
- Location: The Belvedere School for Hands-On Preservation, Hannibal MO
- Cost: $300
While available elsewhere across the country and regionally we don’t currently have any preservation trades education available here in WI… that I’m aware of. Bob Yapp, publisher, radio show host, consultant and founder/director of the Belvedere School is a recognized authority in historic preservation and related trades. The Belvedere school offers a range of hands-on trades education. It’s located less than six hours away and is incredibly reasonably priced at ONLY $300… for three full days of training. I think that’s incredible.
From Bob’s course description:
Window Restoration College is a fun and intense, three-day, hands-on learning experience. Students will learn cost-effective & energy efficient restoration of original, double-hung, wood windows. You will be part of a team restoring the original 150-year old windows in the historic Lamb-Munger Mansion in the Central Park National Historic District in Hannibal, Missouri.
This is a tuition-based class with a limit of 12 students. You will be working side- by-side all three days with instructor Bob Yapp. Bob is nationally recognized as one of the top experts in window restoration and has restored over 5,000 windows in his 35-year career.
This will be an intense, learn-by-doing opportunity. You will learn sash removal, safe paint & glass removal, epoxy wood repair, glazing putty application, weather stripping, re-roping & sash installation. At the end of the three days you will know from beginning to end, how to completely and cost effectively restore a double-hung window & receive a “Certificate of Completion”.
Homeowners, small contractors, preservation staff, preservation commission members, hp students and historic building owners will all benefit from this hands-on, traditional training event. All skill levels are encouraged to sign up.
Tuition for this three-day workshop is $300 and includes beverages and lunch. Space is limited to twelve students in each session and pre-registration is required Classes fill up quickly so be sure to get your tuition & registration in as soon as possible.
Inexpensive motels as well as bed & breakfast inns are available for out of town students. For more information or to pre-register call Bob Yapp, 217-474-6052 or email him, email@example.com or www.bobyapp.com
Beloit’s Historic Rasey House
& River Stone Construction
Rasey House: 517 Prospect St. Beloit WI 53511
It’s likely most folks know about Beloit’s historic Rasey House and have visited at one time or another. We finally stopped in for the first time during the Beloit Heritage Days just passed and had a wonderful time talking with the volunteers. It’s an amazing house and and a very special and integral piece of Beloit history. It seems so many of these historic home’s residents and the historic structures themselves factor into the stories of other’s lives and events.
I love good stories. Rasey House has lots.
Its a fascinating piece of local history not simply from the standpoint of historic architecture but also the lives of the figures who made Rasey their home and the intertwining of these stories with other lives and events.
The stories around this relatively unique building construction are very interesting. As you likely know historic river stone constructed buildings are increasing rare as more are being demolished passively due to neglect or intentionally as they’re considered to be in the way of the current purpose.
Rasey house itself on more then one occasion had been threatened with demolition. It’s sad to think if those efforts had been successful. The home, for years now has been lovingly maintained by the Beloit Chapter of the Daughter’s of the American Revolution.
I think Beloit is a better place because Rasey House has survived and the DAR’s stewardship. It is a significant part of what makes Beloit distinctive, anchored and, well… non-generic. It’s part of Beloit’s identity.
The expression is “death by a thousand cuts” meaning that a major single blow did not fell the victim but rather it was little bit by little bit. The single impact of any one or even several events did not cause the demise however, over time, the cumulative result is none the less the same. I understand that at one time Beloit was distinct in the region for the number of river stone building in town. Over thirty as I recall. We are now down to three. It’s too bad.
Beloit’s Rasey Home came to mind as a friend of mine from another historic community, Elgin IL just posted some wonderful pictures of a river stone constructed home in their community. It’s very cool. You can see it here. Love the original rough hewn timber framing and while not original to the house it sports a very early radiator that’s kinda cool.
As long as we’re at it. I understand there are efforts to try and save another Beloit river stone home over on St. Lawrence. Not sure of current status.
View Larger Map
“Nobody makes that anymore.”
“Nobody does that anymore.”
While it may not be at the local mass market “big box” store, very often it IS available and with numerable options. It’s frequently more a matter of knowing where to look or who to ask.
I’ve a couple personal favorites:
- - The Old House Journal Restoration Product Directory — once upon a time only available via their print catalog. You can now reference this online. If you’ve an old house you need to know about this resoure.
- - Clem Labine’s Traditional Building — He was the original creator of the OHJ. Personal note… I actually have copies of his early “magazine” from when it was still in a black and white, stapled and hole-punched form.
Recently there were two different inquiries on where to find capitals for some porch columns. These are generally available locally but with limited options mostly fitting a few standardized dimensions. Tapping either source above would likely overwhelm with the available options… including many with prices comparable. To that you factor repair relative to replacement in terms of price, quality of replacement and what’s being sent to the land fill.
For example, we recently purchased a mortised lock set for a screen door from Van Dyke’s. The type of item not found in a “big box”. When done our 80 year old screen doors will be good for many more decades. Wonder what the life expectancy is and various costs are on a “green” replacement screen door.
The above links and more on the evolving Beloit NPA Links page.
Had an exceptional “Old House” day today.
A couple months ago we attended a conference in Madison for Historic Preservation Commissioners, in the case of Beloit it’s the “Landmarks Commission”. There we had the opportunity to meet folks likewise involved in other communities across WI. Among those we met was Rick Fletcher who chairs the Janesville Historic Preservation Commission. Rick provides guided walking tours of various historic areas around Janesville. Today we had the good fortune to attend Rick’s tour of the “Old 4th Ward”. It was WONDERFUL!
There were ~70 people in attendance following Rick around getting some insight into Janesville history as well as period architecture. We finished up with being invited, all 70+ of us into the fine home of one of the residents. It was a -very- cool house.
While there we were reminded that today was the Janesville Garden Walk. While sponsored by and for the Rotary Garden it consisted of eight residential gardens, five of which were in the “Courthouse Hill” historic district. Keep an eye out for this next year and go. It was… amazing!
To cap it all off, being “Old House” home owners and enthusiasts ourselves we really enjoy meeting and talking with others who share this interest. We had a chance to meet several homeowners in the Courthouse Hill historic district. Big fun.
Now, Janesville’s historic district house walk is coming up in August. I forget the date but will be broadcasting it here. We went last year and it was very enjoyable and we’ll be attending this year as well. It might be fun to get a group together to attend. Lemme’ know if you’d be interested or simply comment below.
~Rick M rick@BeloitNPA (dot) org
It’s refreshing to see the fine job they’ve done with this distinctive period home. It makes a huge difference and makes for a beautiful home. Take a look at the pics on the realtor’s listing. Amazing! Check out the woodwork, lighting and hardware. They’ve really done a wonderful job with this classic and dignified “old house”. If you’re moving to the area and have an appreciation for fine old homes and want/need move-in ready you should check this one out.
Though we had not been inside we knew the prior owners and understand the house needed some work. We’ve seen a number of sad homes where the “updating” was done by those with little understanding or appreciation for the original charm or period style of the home. Those homes have been stripped of their base, window/door, crown trim and other woodwork and replaced with anemic, under-scaled home center generics. They’ve pulled out the doors, hardware and lighting and replaced with generics. They’ve cheapened the home and made it bland IMO. Once removed it is very expensive to replace and often cost prohibitive. <exit soap box>
This home is very much still intact and beautiful. Worth a look.
- - Realtor’s Listing Here.
- - This home is not within any of the current historic districts.
- - Walkability Score: 77 out of 100, “Very Walkable”.
We go by this house all the time. Though we’ve never been in it’s a beautiful and distinctive vintage home with a strong Craftsman influence. The professionally landscaped yard is wonderful and perhaps the nicest in the areas. Church is a wonderful street of fine homes, great neighbors and only a block from the college. Very convenient.
- - Realtor’s Listing Here.
- - Within the College Park Historic District. Eligible for the Historic Home Owners Tax Credit.
- - Walkability Score: 85 out of 100, “Very Walkable”.
Old house living is not for everyone. I’ll admit to my prejudice, I love old houses and the sense of community frequently found in old neighborhoods. Taking a job within commuting distance it was the vintage housing stock and neighborhood that was a big part of why I moved to Beloit. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Generica and those influences where sameness crowds out unique character among communities, regions etc. They suit their purpose and have their benefits but planned development neighborhoods are just not where I’d ever choose to live.
For the larger portion of the home buying public that prefers new or more contemporary housing there are many more options. For those who appreciate what fine old homes and neighborhoods provide, finding distinctive old homes that still retain their original character within a neighborhood that supports and encourages this is much more difficult to find. If you’re moving into the Beloit or broader stateline area, or even if you’re already in the area but looking to move there are some great historic or vintage homes here. Still other homes hold great potential and are simply waiting for an owner with the vision and appreciation to bring them back to life. So come join us. We’re looking for some new neighbors who are old house lovers like ourselves to join our neighborhood.
One of the benefits to living in older neighborhoods is their proximity to those things you and your family want or need to do. Old neighborhoods are pedestrian neighborhoods and this is a good thing in many, perhaps not-so-obvious ways. It’s a characteristic removed from contemporary auto-centric planned developments.
Another wonderful thing is that it’s not uncommon for these “historic homes” to come with stories of their own. Interesting stories are tied to the home, it’s residents, builders or local events. Such is the case with many of the homes below. They’ve led interesting lives.
Home owners and Realtors:
- Federal Tax Credits: Homes that are within registered historic districts or individually listed are eligible for the “Historic Home Owner’s Tax Credit“. Homes that are not within an historic district may be eligible for individual listing. To apply for these significant tax benefit programs you may contact Beloit Neighborhood Planning or the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Offices (who administer this program).
- Property Values: Homes within registered historic districts typically maintain and increase their property values at a faster rate then surrounding neighborhoods. While no study has been commissioned for Beloit, Rockford IL (30 min. away) just completed one for their four historic districts 5 mo. ago in Dec. of 09′. Read this report here – The Impact of Historic District Designation on Property Values. This report is consistent with the experience of historic districts across the country.
- The Old House Marketplace: In fact there is a growing market for quality vintage and historic homes throughout the country. These include not only those that have been lovingly maintained or sensitively restored but also those that still have enough original fabric to be brought back to life – meaning… they’ve not been gutted or remuddled too extensively. See below.
Find historic homes for sale, real estate agents who specialize in historic houses for sale, and historic preservation resources.
.And it’s a market of supply and demand. Fewer and fewer homes are maintained in an architecturally sensitive manor or still retain enough original fabric to be brought back to their prior splendor.
Our directory of historic homes, buildings and other historic structures for sale has been connecting those seeking their “historic dream house” with a wide selection of truly amazing historic homes from all over North America since 1999.