If given a chance to purchase a piece of history in one of North America’s most historic countries, why not take the opportunity to do just that. Mexico has a lot of history behind it and, with that, brings plenty of 17th, 18th and 19th-century homes. There is something special about acquiring a piece of the past and making it part of your future. Many adventurous individuals are looking to follow their dreams, and that could include purchasing a historic home and and restoring it.
For instance, there are parts of San Miguel Allende and the Yucatan Peninsula where you can purchase a historic home from the Colonial period (1521-1821). Depending on the house’s location, being either in a registered historic district or in the suburbs, prices can range from five to six figures. If the home has already been registered with Mexico’s Historical Society or is considered a landmark, the option to purchase a historic home could come with several stipulations. They could range from keeping its original façade and surrounding landscape.
Obtaining the Required Permits
When deciding to purchase a historic home, The National Institution of Anthropology and History (NIAH) has the authority to approve or deny any restoration or renovating permits. Currently, the approval process is very time-consuming. Depending on where the location of the property and its historical value, chances of getting a timely permit are still uncertain and not guaranteed.
San Miguel de Allende offers 18th and 19th century circa homes. Besides the NIAH giving you their blessings, you might also have to check with the local municipality. When looking for unique homes of this caliber, having an experienced realtor is a great advantage. They should be able to know which properties qualify for open-market sales. It is always good to hire a lawyer who can do a title search and look into any problems regarding the permitting process.
Protecting Your Investment
When you take on a project that involves restoring a piece of the past, you want to make sure it is protected. It’s the same with building or purchasing a new home; you want to protect your investment regardless of age or cost. The same goes with finding a one-of-a-kind structure. It is common sense that you will want to preserve something requiring lots of time and money.
There are several ways to protect your investment. One of the ways is to have adequate insurance coverage. When looking for the right insurance policy, make sure the company has experience insuring high-value or specialized properties. Disclose to the insurance company – agent everything you have done to the home, submit an official inspection report, and provide interior and exterior photos. We also advise insuring the contents as well. Ensure the policy includes natural disasters, theft, and personal liability, to mention just a few scenarios.
Another way to make sure your home is protected is to consider providing it with security and durability in mind. A few examples would be to use hurricane-impact resistant windows (in case of a property in a hurricane area), a solid front door, and a ‘high wind resistant” rated roof. You will also want to consider a security system and hardwired smoke detectors. All these suggestions will keep your investment safe from the elements that could destroy all your hard work with one occurrence.
Tips On Purchasing A Historic Home And Restoring It
When choosing to purchase a century-old home, several factors come into play. First of all, you can take something with style and character and bring it back to life. The second and most important one is the feeling of accomplishment. Having the will to complete a task that others are afraid to do is impressive in itself. Here are few essential tips that will make your renovation go a little smoother.
- Make sure you have a reputable inspector who knows what to look for and can assess older properties. You don’t want to get hit with an unexpected and costly repair(s).
- Hire a project manager or general contractor who has:
- Experience in restoring century-old homes.
- Documentation and can provide references from past customers.
- Make sure you can afford everything you want to do, and plan a few extra dollars for unforeseen costs.
- Talk to local authorities and see if there are any tax breaks or if the Historical Society offers any grants, additional funding or professional services related to purchasing a historic home to restore it.
- Always check with the Historical Society on any required matters like keeping any of the home’s façade or certain structural elements.
What kind of repairs will it need?
The above tips are just the beginning of your new adventure. Depending on the shape of the home, it may only need cosmetic repairs or, worst-case scenario, a complete teardown of the interior walls. This could mean replacing the plumbing and electrical, which is not a bad idea. However, if the home has been remodeled in the last ten years, it might have had its inner-utilities infrastructure replaced at that time. A good contractor will know all this.
Besides, other critical structural parts to be concerned with are the flooring and foundation. If you walk along the floor and it has dips, bumps and unevenness, you will have to tear off the tile and make the necessary repairs. Also another concern is the foundation of the home. Make sure the mortar or type of cement used isn’t crumbling. And as always, check the roof and its supporting structure. All this will eliminate future problems that will come at the most inopportune time.
Specific Décor Ideas For Your Historic Home
Once all the infrastructure is complete, the foundation and roof are secured, it’s time to add your personal touches. Here are a few ideas that might help with your décor plans.
- Remember to choose a variety of color schemes that complement each other.
- Consider colors that are similar to the home’s period.
- Light colors open up, and darker colors enclose a space.
- Consider the amount of light in the room and use the appropriate shine – Flat or matte finishes were common back then.
- Accenting the home’s unique features like built-ins, archways, and window treatments can be a perfect example.
- Mix old with the new.
- Modern kitchen appliances and fixtures alongside turn-of-the-century tile complement each other.
- Bathroom faucets, towel holders and light fixtures go hand-and-hand with painted Mexican tile.
- Choose from several complimenting motifs. This doesn’t always mean you have to buy antiques or turn-of-the-century furnishing. You can decorate in a modern contemporary style; just don’t go overboard.
When looking at ceiling fans and lighting fixtures for the living areas, keep away from chrome or other reflective finishes. The flooring should stay consistent throughout the entire home. If you use a ceramic tile – natural stone – polished marble, keep it relatively neutral. This will allow you to select almost any pattern or solid-colored furniture.
No one said purchasing a historic home and restoring it would be easy. The work is very tedious, and yes, it will cost a few dollars. There will also be times when you ask yourself, “Is this really worth the effort?” Our answer to that is it absolutely will be. What could be better than bringing a home back to life? Your efforts will pay back 2 to 3 times your initial investment. Add this to having perfect surroundings, and seeing your accomplishment daily will keep your smiling for the rest of your life. You only have one chance to live your dreams, and why not start now!