Think a historic property is right for you? Ask yourself these questions first. 

With nearly 30,000 properties—or 20% of the city—designated as historic throughout the D.C. area, it’s not unreasonable to think (if you’re shopping for D.C. real estate) that a historic home may be in your future. But, what should you consider when weighing the pros and cons of a historic Washington D.C. real estate property? Let’s look at a few considerations: 

Are you ready to do your research? 

Knowing a home’s history before you buy it can give you some of the insights you need to paint a more accurate picture of what you’re getting into. What was the extent of previous renovations? What was the house like originally? What is the history of the home? What are its stories? By doing your research, you’re unfolding the pages of history to give you a more clear understanding of what’s involved in owning the home. 

Do you want to renovate? 

There are two types of historic property purchases: those that are already renovated and those that are renovation projects. Ask yourself how willing and able you are to dive into a restoration project. Before you set your heart on a renovation, meet with a few contractors who are familiar with your type of renovation. The costs associated with renovating a historic home are often more substantial than they would be for a more modern home. 

Have you explored tax breaks? 

Tax breaks are often a big perk of owning a historic home. If you purchase in one of Washington’s historic districts, you can often participate in the facade easement program developed by the IRS and the U.S. Department of the Interior. This allows you to realize tax breaks that can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. 

Can you stomach the price tag? 

The historic property market in Washington, D.C. is known for fetching price tags higher than its more traditional competitors. In areas like Georgetown or Dupont Circle, for example, prices can easily start at $1million and above. However, each historic Washington D.C. real estate property is an opportunity to own something truly unique —a piece of art that tells a story much larger than just the neighborhood or city. 

Do you have the right agent? 

Not all real estate professionals are familiar with the ins and outs of a historic property purchase. From knowledge of off-market or up-and-coming deals to getting through a historic property inspection, having the expertise of a Washington D.C. real estate agent who has navigated the historic property waters can be paramount to your success. 

If you’re considering purchasing a historic property, do not hesitate to reach out. It would be my pleasure to assist you.