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From the moment I posted my latest listing in the landmark district of Pasadena, it immediately started attracting views. I wasn’t surprised. Although it didn’t have an official historic designation, the vintage charm of the 1917 build — combined with the modern amenities that have since been added to it — hold an undeniable appeal for design-conscious luxury buyers.
This desire for uniqueness is driving a rising demand for historic homes in the luxury real estate sector. Just as we love to sip a handcrafted coffee or signature cocktail, buyers today love the character and craftsmanship that a historical property exudes, and want a home that expresses their one-of-a-kind personality and preferences.
Why are historic luxury homes surging in popularity?
Let’s look at the particulars of why historic properties are enjoying a renaissance:
- A historic home is a cultural treasure. With age comes value, and these properties tend to appreciate in worth over the years.
- The architecture of these properties is often exquisite. The old saying, “They don’t make them like they used to,” holds true.
- Homes with storied pasts are often situated in storied places, which means many historic properties are in prime locations.
You can’t put a price on a great story, which is why these homes continue to capture the hearts and imaginations of the public — while also making for good long-term investments. In some jurisdictions, owning and preserving a home of historical significance may even come with tax credits.
Some of the hurdles associated with historic homes
What do you need to watch out for when working with clients to market or acquire their own time-honored residences? There are three considerations that always top my list:
- There may be municipal and regional regulations that enforce how historic homes are protected and maintained, and guidelines that dictate how they can be renovated.
- The aged features that lend historic homes their beauty and distinction are also the parts that may be falling into disrepair, leading to ongoing costs.
- Due to their long histories, even formerly renovated homes can be out of date. For example, an 1890 home that was retrofitted in 1980 will lack state-of-the-art amenities and energy efficiency.
5 pieces of advice for facilitating a historic purchase
While buying historic homes can be thrilling for clients, promoting and selling them can also be fulfilling for agents. If you’re looking to capitalize on this trend, here are five actions I recommend you take:
- Talk to as many experts in historic preservation as possible. Commit to learning this segment of the luxury market in detail.
- Specialize even further by educating yourself on the historic neighborhoods in your area. Engage with local organizations that champion historical preservation and become an advocate.
- Use this knowledge to genuinely coach your prospective buyers on both the benefits and responsibilities of owning a historic home.
- Hire a foundation specialist to help buyers understand any ongoing maintenance or future retrofitting work that a property may require, so they can make informed decisions.
- Go and see as many historic homes as possible — both in your own market and abroad — and share them with the world. Position yourself as an authority in this space and let it build your brand.
If buyers are hesitant when they see the potential costs of restoring and conserving a historic home, you can introduce them to homes in the same landmark district that lack a historic designation. The overall uniqueness of the neighborhood will help add value to the property, while the bill for ongoing maintenance will be far more budget-friendly.
Help your buyers acquire their own piece of the past
If you’re working with luxury clients who have the means to acquire a historic property, help them understand how doing so can pay dividends in the long run. Not only do they get the honor of being stewards of their community, but the value of their home is almost guaranteed to go up as the years go on — making these acquisitions an opportunity like no other.
For the past 25 years, Annie Wang has called San Marino and its surrounding cities home. As a strong sales and marketing strategist, she’s committed to providing exceptional solutions and outstanding service for all of her clients. Over her 16 years in residential real estate, Annie’s keen eye for true quality propelled her into the top 10 ranking for sales volume in 2021 and 2022.