Let me first say, I’m a fan of historical neighborhoods, and I’m a fan of preserving these special homes. But, in order to preserve them, renovators need to be able to make these homes inhabitable.
I know every city has Historic Neighborhoods, and let me say that it is a bigger hassle then it is worth. Last year, we completed a rehab and it was a challenge. So, the first nugget I want to drop is this: know where your projects are located. If they are located in a Historical Neighborhood, I would be very wary. Because the requirements for a renovation are ridiculous, time consuming and full of bullshit.
The Historical overlays will almost always take precedence over any reasonable renovations to bring the house up to code. So, let me drop nugget #2: since there is so much hassle and red tape, every other house in a Historical Neighborhood is going to be a POS. This is because homeowners won’t even be allowed to make renovations, or they don’t want to bother with the permits. Don’t be fooled by this! It’s more a hindrance than anything.
So, just for example, I tried to renovate a home in a Historical Neighborhood. What should have taken 60 to 90 days, took seven months! Why? Why would a quick update and rehab take so long? The originals owners didn’t want to deal with the city, so they just put in aluminum windows. As we were trying to change the windows, and follow city code, the neighbors had a fit and we had to wait for 3 months while the city approved our replacements.
Besides this, there is an entire process that requires the entire neighborhood to give approval, or to complain, and you have to listen to it all. So, here is the moral: avoid Historical Neighborhoods if you can!