Whether you are looking to invest, or already own a home that is, or may be designated a heritage building, there are several guidelines to be aware of before you begin making any changes to your property. The National Heritage Preservation Service provides these guidelines to help communities identify, evaluate, protect and preserve historic properties for future generations of Americans.
As a homeowner it is important to follow these standards to qualify for “certified rehabilitations" and maintain eligibility for rehabilitation tax credit. Certified Restoration is the alteration of or addition to a historic property while retaining a property's historic character.
To qualify as having performed, “certified rehabilitations" on your property, here are just a few of the national guidelines that should be followed. For a complete and illustrated guide for Rehabilitation, Restoration, Reconstruction and Preservation, refer to the secretary of the Interior's standards for the treatment of historic properties:
- Your property should be used for its original historic purpose. That is if you are rehabilitating an Eichler home, for example, it must be still designated as a single family home to qualify. If it is to have a new use, minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site are necessary to qualify for a certified rehabilitation.
- Alteration proposed must preserve and retain the historic character of the home. In the case of an Eichler home, the Eichler home owner who want to qualify for a certified rehabilitations cannot put on a second story, repave an atrium with anything other than concrete, or place windows in the front walls. These are original architecture that define the character of the Eichler home.
- New additions or construction must not effect the original integrity of the building. That is, the essential form and integrity of the historic property must be left intact when under taking additions.
- Historic features that have deteriorated over time should ideally be repaired rather than replaced. If the deterioration is unquestionably sever, a feature can be replaced, but it should match the original design in texture, color and materials. To hearken back to the Eichler home, this means worn-out wood wall paneling needs to be replaced with new paneling, ideally of the same type and grain.
These are just a few of the ten principle guidelines for certified rehabilitations set out by the National Heritage Preservation Service. Help protect the nations’ irreplaceable cultural resources and ensure that you are getting as much support as possible while you care for and protect your heritage building.
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