Selling Historic Homes in Massachusetts
Earlier this month, NEAR put on the event Selling Historic Homes in MA and NH. Being a bit of a history enthusiast, I decide to attend. I was not disappointed. The speaker, Andrew Consoli from ABC Real Estate Training Institute, was great. He was engaging, entertaining and his knowledge of the topic was quite impressive. During his presentation, he shared a considerable amount of advice that I thought would be of interest to my readers, especially my agent partners.
So what does it take to declare a home historic? In many cases, a famous person to have lived at or an event needs to have happened at the property or on the land itself. While the age of the home is relevant, some newer homes can be considered historic as well. Each town and city in Massachusetts has a historic commission that is responsible for the preservation, protection and development of historical assets. If you have reason to believe a property you’re listing or showing has been declared historic, I would recommend checking with your local historic commission to find out if that property is in their active inventory. If a home is declared historic, this may have an impact on the buyer's decision to purchase as renovations could be limited, depending upon the historical society. Whether you’re representing the buyer or seller, you have an ethical responsibility to disclose that information to your client.
It’s important that you inform potential buyers of a historical property about the unique responsibilities that come with owning a historic home. The most important consideration is the owner’s role in maintaining the historic integrity of the property. Because of its historical designation, any restoration work needs to be approved by the historic commission. This will take time and may impose a financial hardship to some when trying to mimic the original materials and craftsmanship of a historic piece of architecture.
Owning a historic home can be a satisfying and interesting pursuit for some, but it is not without its challenges. As an agent, it’s vital that you inform buyers of the unique responsibilities and limitations that come with owning a piece of history and ensure that they’re up for the task. For more on the topic, I would recommend starting here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhcidx.htm.