buying historic tampa homes

Have you ever dreamed of living in a large, enchanting historic home instead of some cookie-cutter townhome or apartment with an HOA? The good news is that plenty of historic Tampa homes offer these perks to prospective homebuyers! 

A whole different type of luxury home, historical properties come with unique features and an elegant charm that you won’t find in today’s newer houses. 

But before you make an offer, let’s dive into some valuable tips for buying a historic home in Tampa! 

Tour as Many as Possible 

When shopping around, viewing as many historic homes as possible is best. The more properties you compare, the easier it is to determine which architectural styles and layouts you like. From mid-century modern and Art Deco to Victorian and Tudor, you want to experience a variety of designs before settling on one. 

To find historic properties, check the list compiled by the National Register of Historic Places. They have more than 1,700 properties listed in Florida alone! 

Alternatively, your real estate agent can look in their multiple listing service (MLS) for historic homes. And if you’re viewing properties via online platforms, there will likely be a note in the property description detailing its historic status, should it exist. 

Get a Verified Approved Letter 

Historic homes in the Tampa Bay area often have more competition than other properties. Thus, any brokerage firm will recommend you get a Pre-Verified Approval Letter, which confirms your income and assets, before placing any offers. 

This letter signals that you’re serious about buying and already qualify for a mortgage. This will set you apart from other buyers and give you a leg up if there are multiple offers on a property. 

Have a Home Inspection 

It’s not uncommon for old homes for sale in Florida to have some issues, and unless you’re an expert, they can be challenging to spot. A home inspection contingency clause is already included in the purchase agreement so that if there are significant problems with the home, you can pull out of the sale with your earnest money. 

Find an inspector who has experience with older homes and get your home inspection questions answered before the walkthrough to ensure you get the most out of the inspection. 

Research Renovation Costs 

Historic homes for sale in Florida often have more complex and costly home renovation projects than new construction homes because the properties are older, and there may be restrictions on what homeowners can and cannot do with the property. 

For example, the hardwood floors in a home built in the early 1900s will need more restoration than those in a house built in 2015. 

Once the home inspection is complete, you’ll know the necessary renovations the home needs, and you can research how much they will cost. You may also want to add disaster mitigation to your property. 

If you cannot commit to the renovations, the property may not be for you. 

Research Maintenance Costs 

Historic homes often have higher maintenance costs than newer single-family homes or condos because the materials you must use are more costly. Also, the house will likely need frequent maintenance to maintain its historic history. 

Understanding maintenance costs before buying the property ensures you can afford to keep the home in good condition. 

Check Rehab Regulations for Historic Homes 

Although the National Register doesn’t set rules or regulations for historic properties, it’s essential to remember that local governments operate historic districts and often have their own rules about what you can and cannot do with these properties. 

For instance, many historical societies have rules that state you cannot add a home addition. Thus, if you want to add more square feet to increase the home’s value, you won’t be able to do so. 

Further, to make renovations, you’ll need to find historically accurate materials and contractors who will do the work correctly to maintain the home’s historical integrity. If you break the historical integrity, you could lose any financial assistance you’ve received for the property. Thus, it’s imperative to follow the local laws regarding your property. 

Understand the Difficulties 

Although historic homes have much beauty and significance, they aren’t easy to own. Some of the difficulties you should prepare to face include: 

  • Challenges getting financing and insurance 
  • Foundation problems 
  • Harmful materials in the home 
  • Lower ROI 
  • More complicated and expensive renovations 
  • More costly and frequent repairs 
  • Smaller storage spaces 
  • Stricter regulations 

Know What to Look For 

There are several things to check when viewing historic homes, including: 

  • Electrical system 
  • Foundation 
  • Insulation 
  • Mold 
  • Pests 
  • Plumbing 
  • Roof 

Even though the homes are older, you still want them to have some modern features, especially regarding the major systems and structural components. 

Additionally, you need to know where to look in Tampa for historic homes. The best neighborhoods to consider are: 

  • Davis Islands 
  • Hyde Park 
  • Bayshore Boulevard 
  • Hyde Park Village 
  • SoHo 
  • Seminole Heights 
  • Tampa Heights 
  • Ybor City 

While these areas surround Downtown Tampa and the Bayshore Blvd. strip, this doesn’t mean you can’t find places in other areas of Tampa. Pinellas County has many historic properties in Clearwater and St. Petersburg. Outside the region, in Hernando or Sarasota counties, you’ll also find historic homes for sale. 

After exploring the different neighborhoods, focus on the features you want. For example, if you prefer walkable neighborhoods, Tampa has many excellent ones, especially in South Tampa. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a lively area with many restaurants and parks, consider East Tampa or Riverside Heights in West Tampa. For something more serene, look near the Temple Terrace Golf Club. 

Some other Tampa suburbs, like Brandon, Carrollwood, or Riverview, may also have historic properties for sale. 

Work with Kimmie Fine to Find Historic Homes in Tampa 

With these tips about buying a historic home in Tampa, you can start looking for your dream home and plan your move. For help finding the perfect property, work with me, Kimmie Fine! 

As a prominent figure in the luxury Tampa real estate market with 20 years of experience in real estate sales, I have valuable knowledge of real estate in Tampa Bay. 

Search my listings to explore historic homes for sale throughout Hillsborough County and the greater Tampa region!