In Toronto, historic homes are not hard to spot and scattered throughout the city. These homes are typically stately and full of architectural character. Being that they represent some of the longest-standing properties in the city, they are also rich in history.
These properties are true pieces of Toronto history and can be a great avenue of property investment - for the right buyer. As these types of structures come with a unique set of additional considerations, prospective buyers will need to ensure they are informed and prepared to take on a home of this nature before committing to purchase.
So, what is a historic home and what defining characteristics does it posess?
According to Wikipedia.org,
A historic house generally meets several criteria before being listed by an official body as "historic." Generally the building is at least a certain age, depending on the rules for the individual list. A second factor is that the building be in recognizably the same form as when it became historic. Third is a requirement that either an event of historical importance happened at the site, or that a person of historical significance was associated with the site, or that the building itself is important for its architecture or interior.
In the U.S., a property must be aged at 50 years or older in order to qualify as a historic home. In Canada, the requirements differ in that this designation is approved by municipal, provincial or federal government, who must first deem the home significant in either a historic or cultural sense.
Also referred to as heritage homes, the Canadian designation process relies more on cultural and/or historic impact over age, but the definition and eilibility qualifications can vary slightly from one area to another.
Just like modern homes, heritage properties come in all shapes, sizes and with their own architectural distinctions.
While there are many styles of architecture and design in the realm of historic homes, some of the most popular and coveted styles are as follows:
Under this category, subcategories of colonial home styles include:
Under this category, there are two subcategories:
Not surprisingly, historical homes will generally require buyers to invest some time and money into sprucing up the interior and exterior.
But buyer beware: with heritage comes come very specific rules and restrictions as far as what you can - and cannot - do to the property.
When it comes to doing any work on a historic home, you’ll need to ensure that any maintenance or renovation plans you have in mind don’t conflict with any restrictions on the property. Your real estate agent can help to investigate what specific restrictions a property might have, as well as whether or not the home’s facade must stay as-is, which is a common requirement with historic homes.
Regardless of the property type, a trusted and experienced home inspector should always be part of your home-buying process. For historic homes in particular, you’ll want to do some research on property inspectors who specialize in this property style to ensure you have the best qualified professional handling your inspection. In the case of historic properties, typically aged significantly higher than most homes, buyers are also encouraged to enlist the services of a mold and air inspector as well.
Heritage homes can end up costing buyers more than newer properties once factors like modernizing the interior, conducting additional and specific inspections and the ongoing preservation of the home’s facade (as well as any other aspects of the property that obligate purchasers to ongoing maintenance).
While these costs must be factored into any purchase considerations, the added value in terms of owning a piece of history is often a big selling point for buyers interested in this specific property type.
There are many benefits to taking the plunge on purchasing a historical property, including:
Additionally, for buyers who are renovation-savvy and are able to effectively modernize and update their home within the permissible areas of property-work allowed, they may be able to sell in future at a significantly higher price than purchased.
These are a few well-known historic properties within the Greater Toronto Area:
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