Tips for Selling Your Historical Home Effectively

When selling a historical home, several crucial factors should be considered, from making prudent renovation choices to showcasing the property’s unique history. The pristine character of your home is what will maximize its value, even in the face of preservation constraints. Crafting a sales strategy that mirrors your home’s distinctiveness, quirks included, is key to achieving the best possible outcome.

What defines a historic property?

The National Register of Historic Places confers this designation based on three primary criteria:

  • Significance: A historic property often has ties to significant historical events or figures. It may also offer insights into the past through archaeological discoveries.
  • Age: Typically, historic properties must be over 50 years old. However, exceptions can be made if the property holds exceptional historical value.
  • Integrity: Despite its age, a historic property must retain much of its original appearance and character.

Given these stringent criteria, it’s evident that owning, buying, or selling a truly historic property requires specialized knowledge and expertise from owners, buyers, and real estate agents.

Tips to Selling Your Historic Property

Your home is special. To sell it for top dollar, you need an experienced agent who knows how to market a historical home like yours.

Look for an agent skilled in selling historic homes

Selling a modern home follows a familiar routine: tidy up, declutter, repaint in neutral tones, price appropriately, list online, and sell. While effective for most homes, this approach doesn’t fit historic homes.

Scott T. Hanson, a historic home restorer and author, emphasizes the importance of finding an agent familiar with historic houses and their enthusiasts. Various aspects of selling a historic home demand a tailored approach. Before choosing an agent, ensure they’re the right fit by asking a few key questions:

  • How much experience do you have in selling historic homes?
  • How do you typically prepare historic homes for sale?
  • How do you approach pricing homes like mine?
Preserve your home’s historic character amidst renovations

When getting your historic property ready to sell, you might consider renovating. However, be cautious about modern trends. Hanson advises against removing intact historic features to follow current design trends. Instead, focus on preserving your home’s unique charm and architectural details, as these will attract the right buyer and lead to competitive offers.

Update key rooms with modern improvements

Preserving the value of your historic home means keeping its original features intact, but sometimes, a bit of renovation is necessary. These tips will guide you in balancing preservation with essential improvements when renovating your historic property.

  1. Ensure that the contractor you hire for updating or repairing your historic home is knowledgeable about historic properties and preservation practices. If you don’t have a suitable candidate in your network, ask your real estate agent for a referral to the top historic home contractors in your area.
  2. For maximum return on investment when renovating, focus on the two rooms that yield the highest returns: the kitchen and bathrooms. Emphasize the importance of blending historic character with modern upgrades.
  3. Ensure modern amenities blend seamlessly with the architectural charm of your historic home.
  4. Shop at local architectural salvage yards or national salvage companies to find pieces that match your home’s style. These places offer a wide range of salvaged and restored items, including antique appliances and retro lighting that are rewired and ready for use.
  5. Simple tasks like power washing the exterior, repainting walls indoors or outdoors, and refinishing hardwood floors can rejuvenate an older home.
  6. Additionally, replacing old carpet, removing outdated wallpaper, and updating light fixtures, door handles, and cabinet hardware can introduce a touch of modernity to the space.

Emphasize your home’s true history

Buyers interested in historic homes often find the home’s history captivating. They inquire about the previous occupants, what designates the home as historic, and if there’s an intriguing backstory. When sharing the home’s history, it’s important to ensure accuracy and rely on factual information. Misleading narratives can deter potential buyers.

Preserve your home’s historic charm with a permanent easement

While an easement safeguards your home’s historic character and offers potential tax benefits, it can impact the property’s value and marketability. Finding a buyer committed to preserving your historic house becomes essential in such cases.

Integrate your home’s historical background into your marketing strategy

Highlighting your home’s original features is crucial in marketing, regardless of its condition. However, the historical significance and vintage architecture can truly enhance its appeal, but only if potential buyers are aware of it. Emphasize the original flooring, intricate fireplace mantels, or unique building materials.

After collaborating with your agent to list the standout features and crafting a compelling property description, it’s essential to promote your home effectively to attract potential buyers:

To attract a broad range of buyers, experienced agents in historic home sales understand the importance of expanding beyond the MLS. Listing your historic home on niche real estate platforms can significantly increase exposure and attract interested buyers looking for unique and historic properties:

  • Circa
  • The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s residential real estate listings
  • Historic Properties
  • Antique Homes Magazine
  • Old Houses USA

Connect with a seasoned professionals who specializes in marketing and selling historic properties

Every city boasts its own historic homes, renowned for their preserved architectural details from their era of origin. These homes attract a significant number of people who appreciate their rich history and unique craftsmanship.

Your ideal buyer for your historic property exists, and a suitable real estate agent can assist you in preparing, marketing, and selling your home to them. The crucial step is finding an agent who values the unique aspects of your vintage property as much as you do and has the expertise to attract a diverse range of interested buyers.

In conclusion, selling a historic home requires a strategic approach that acknowledges and highlights its unique charms and historical significance. Finding the right real estate agent, preserving original features, making thoughtful renovations, and effectively marketing the property to a wide audience are key elements in achieving a successful sale. By following these tips and working with professionals who understand the intricacies of selling historic homes, homeowners can ensure a smooth and rewarding selling experience while preserving the legacy of their cherished properties.