Historic Homes in Virginia: Options to Consider in Today's Market

By Elaine VonCannon, ABR, SRES, Associate Broker, Notary, Team Leader, Property Manager, Award Winning Agent

It takes a special buyer to purchase a historic home or property, one who intends to give it tender loving care, perhaps after years of neglect. Restoring a historic property or renovating and updating a historic home for a primary residence are the dream of some. These individuals are connected to the past, and want to live a lifestyle that puts them in touch with that remembrance. The cultural and aesthetic legacy historic homes possess, as well as ample acreage and lavish living spaces indoor and out – make these dwellings a status symbol for some, while it's a lifestyle choice for others.

Extra Features of Historic Properties

In Virginia, many historic homes are remnants of times long past, when there were large land grants and plantations. As a result, many of these historic properties are set-up with some unique features such as: smokehouses, basements designed for preservation and storage of food and beverages, springhouses, stables and barns, additional outbuildings and living spaces, and even more.

A sense of nostalgia and a desire to return to Early American roots motivates many who purchase and cherish historic homes and estates, making them more popular than ever. There are many historic homes for sale all over the state of Virginia.

Funding Historic Home Restoration

Some properties are in the National Register of Historic Places program, and owners are eligible for preservation benefits and incentives from the federal government. Others historic homes may be qualified to be in this Register, and need to be nominated and accepted to be recognized as such. Then there are a slew of historic properties that are privately held and preserved – or updated – over time at the expense of owners and their inheritors.

Why Has Interest in Owning Historic Property Risen?

Builders stopped building during the recession, and people who wanted to own a home needed to look at living in a historic home as an option. With historic home owners, the choice is clear: either revive the home to its glory days of the past, or update it. Over the past several decades salvaging fixtures and parts of old homes before they were torn down has been a lucrative business. Some homeowners want to restore their home with period appropriate décor and fixtures and features. For them, finding specialized parts is easier these days, with companies like Salvage Dogs in Roanoke, whose main focus is salvaging parts of historic homes and reselling them to people who want to restore them properly.

Areas in Virginia Where Historic Properties are Clustered

There are many historic homes in Virginia. Some are even found in the National Register of Historic Places. It's common to find a wide selection in the following areas of Southeastern Virginia: West Point, Smithfield, Williamsburg, Richmond, Gloucester and Mathews. A buyer can purchase a historic cottage in Gloucester or Mathews that is on the York River or the Chesapeake Bay. Many of these historic properties come with piers or access to boat launches on property or nearby. Rural or urban choices are available for historic homes. The buyer will find plenty of historic homes in Williamsburg and Richmond and on the corridor in between - Route 5 continuing all the way to Henrico County. West of Richmond there are even more choices for historic homes. Some of these may be working farms or equestrian properties, offering additional sources of income and space for livestock.

For those who love old, historic homes, Virginia is one of the top places in the U.S. to find them. These historic properties may have been designed for other eras, but luxury, privacy, and the desire for spacious living never go out of style.

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