Friday, December 7, 2012

Not so Frequently Asked Questions...

If someone told you you could save 20% on every dollar you spent on your home, would you take advantage of it? In the state of Virginia, if your home is on the National Historic Register you can! It's all about how much information the community development department is willing to share with you and if the locality has adopted guidelines as to the special care of their (the cities) homes. Only if we had THAT information when we bought our home!!! I could have had my kitchen and bathrooms upgraded to include granite or marble, a new heating system, my floors redone, my roof redone, etc, etc. instead of digging deep into our pockets for the extra pennies. As long as the property maintains it's historical integrity, you can upgrade it to your liking! As a bonus! If the property is an income producing property you not only receive 20% from the state for owning the home, you also get an additional 25% through federal tax credits! Incentives are great! And wouldn't it make sense that if you did this to your home you would only be improving the value!? And wouldn't it make sense that in return to the city that they wouldn't have to give tax hikes every so many years because they are increasing and stabilizing property values?!? Hmmm...

Where does the money come from? I found a nonprofit organization in Richmond called A.C.O.R.N. --Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighorhoods, who would unlock the answers to many of the questions I had about how to finance a "proper restoration." Dave Herring was my contact.

"A.C.O.R.N. serves as an educational entity as well as a clearinghouse for information on how to acquire, finance, and renovate a property in the city's oldest communities. While working to revitalize the city and enable home ownership for people of all income levels, A.C.O.R.N. advocates for the preservation of the cultural and historic assets that give these old neighborhoods their unique character.," Website:

I took a road trip one very early, dark saturday morning to the historic St. John's Church in Richmond to a workshop to be educated on Renovation Loans. ONE of their many information sources. This was only one of the communities I had the pleasure of meeting that really took the time to promote resources for their historic resources without the homeowner losing their a$$ in it. Richard Day, Wells Fargo loan officer for renovation loans and advocate for historic homes, would at that point become my friend.

Not only can you get a renovation loan if you know this guy, you can also apply for tax credits and your local tax abatement progam through the Commissioner of Revenues office for structures 50 years or older for seven years! WOW! That means you don't pay the higher taxes on the restored project for seven years! You pay only what the structure is worth when you bought it!

Myths: Grants do not exist for historic homeowners in the state of Virginia. Not at the state level or the federal level. Franklin (the city I had bought my home in) was misinforming people.