Owning Historic Lake Minnetonka Homes

Historical Wyer Hill House

The Lake Minnetonka real estate market features many historic and aesthetically beautiful homes that are admired by many around the state and country.  However, for those looking to jump head over heels into a historic home purchase, it’s important to understand the responsibility associated with owning these homes and how it differs from traditional home ownership.   

The following are some of the many benefits and privileges in owning a historic home.  One benefit homeowners express is the ability to personally take an active role in the preservation of these historic properties.  However, the significant difference between traditional and historic home ownership is that the maintenance, renovations and improvements of historic homes must adhere to guidelines set by the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.  The purpose of the standards are to preserve the historical significance of the home.  On occasion, requests to deviate from the standards have been approved when it is deemed necessary to preserve the overall condition of the home.  

Additionally, there are economic benefits to be enjoyed by the owners of homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The state and federal government offer tax incentives, grants and low interest loans, to qualified owners, to assist in the cost of associated with preserving these historic homes. A resale benefit is that the homes typically hold or increase in value above the traditional housing market.

Historic Shaver House - WayzataWhat is a registered historic home?  Homes can be historically registered after an assessment by Minnesota Historical Society.  The society adheres to the National Register Criteria for Evaluation using the following questions:  

1. How old is the home?

2. Does the home look the same way in the past when it was built?

3. Does the home have significance with an event, activities or developments that where important in the past?

4. Is the home's design, construction or architecture historically significant?

The following tips will aid in the successful purchase of historical homes:

• Home inspections should be performed by a qualified historic-home inspector or structural engineer.  The inspector will be looking at the condition of the materials and building methods used in the original construction of the home to provide a clear understanding of the overall condition of the home and any safety or health concerns from hazardous materials used in the original construction.

• Have a contractor with a track record of working with historical homes layout the costs associated with preserving and maintaining the condition of the home as required by the historic preservation societies.  

• Familiarize yourself with the Standards of Rehabilitation from the Secretary of Interior so you know what the expectations of you are as a homeowner and what to expect from the historical societies.

Owning a historic home can be an enjoyable undertaking for those who are interested in preserving history while making it.

Contact us for a report of the historic homes for sale in the Lake Minnetonka market. 

Photos by: Paul Johnson

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