Financial help for old house restoration

Shannon Lee

That beautiful old house might have stood for hundreds of years, but time has finally started to take a toll. But old house restoration can be a costly endeavor. Fortunately, financial help for homeowners is available through many programs designed to keep heritage alive and well.

Financial help for restoration: Where to find it

Don't despair over that ultra-tight budget. Spend some time doing your homework instead. When you're looking for the financial help you need to restore your home to its original beauty, here are some good places to begin:

  • Grants. When looking for financial options for restoration, always look to grants first. Why? Grants do not have to be repaid, and that can be a huge help to any homeowner. However, public and private grants usually go to properties that are going to be used for the good of the public--libraries or historic office buildings. Grants for restoration of private homes are rare.
  • Local foundations. A local foundation might be willing to give you a grant or low-interest loan for your restoration project, especially if your old house is in a "distressed" neighborhood or a historic district that has become a project for your city. In some areas, local foundations have been responsible for the revitalization of entire sections of town, so it never hurts to look into what your area has to offer.
  • Low-interest loans. If you can't find grants, low-interest loans might help. If your home is designated as a historic property or is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the restoration work adheres to the standards set forth by the government, you could be eligible for low-interest loans that cover at least part of your restoration plans.
  • Tax incentives. In some states, real estate taxes can be suspended for several years while you work on the restoration. Other states give an income tax credit that means less taxes paid. If your historic property produces income, you might qualify for the Rehabilitation Tax Credit.
  • Restoration society. Local and state societies might offer revolving loan funds for those who work on historic properties, or other grants and incentives for leaping into that old house restoration. Talk to your local banks about restoration societies in your area.

Before you start work on that restoration project, look for help to pay for it. Financial help is out there, but you might have to do some searching before you find it.

About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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