Historic Designation and Home Ownership
The Georgetown Historic District, was the first Historic District in DC and only the sixth in the nation. The area is bounded by Reservoir Road and Dumbarton Oaks Park to the north, Rock Creek Park to the east, The Potomac River on the south, and Glover-Archbold Parkway to the west. It encompasses about 4,000 buildings, some dating from as far back as 1765.
What does Historic Designation mean?
Having a home in the Historic District means there are local regulations for changes to the exterior of the property. The regulations are reviewed and facilitated by the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) under the direction of the U. S. Commission of Fine Arts.
How does this affect Georgetown home buyers?
Renovation plans are one of the main things to consider when buying in Historic Georgetown. The historical review board analyzes any work done to the exterior of the home if it is visible from a public area. How much is visible from nearby streets and sidewalks will limit new owners planning any additions.
How does this affect Georgetown home sellers?
One of the places where sellers might run into difficulties is with buyer-requested home repairs and improvements, especially on the exterior of the home. A simple home repair can become complicated, because they must be reviewed and in compliance with OGB guidelines. Sellers may choose instead to offer a buyer a credit instead of making the repair.
Impact on Property Values
Georgetown has some of the most expensive homes in the District. But the requirements of historic designation have not hurt home ownership. It may be the stringent regulations prevailing in the Georgetown historic district that keeps buyers falling in love with the area. Historic preservation began early and has been consistently enforced. The pristine and historically accurate homes benefit from the desirability of the entire area and are considered treasures.
Potential downsides of Historic Designation
If looking for the best of both worlds — a home in the Historic District that has been updated and upgraded to live like a modern home — it may be a challenge retrofitting the infrastructure and gaining approval for exterior alterations.
Benefits of Historic Designation
There are some tax breaks and grants for repairs and upkeep available. These can defray the considerable costs associated with maintaining a historic home.
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