Between the Beams: National Register & Historic Home Limitations

Between the Beams: 
National Register & Historic Home Limitations

What is the National Register?

First, let’s clear up a common misconception … just because a home is 100 or 200 years old, certainly does not mean it’s automatically a “historic home” or on the National Register of Historic Places.  
From the National Park Service, “the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.  Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.”  
Duties of the National Register:
  • review nominations of eligible properties
  • guidance on evaluation and documentation
  • preservation benefits & financial incentives

What is the application process for the National Register?  

The National Park Service website outlines the process and provides for a list of necessary forms.  You will likely always want to first start with your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) before taking any action on a property or for more information, through a Right-to-Know Request.  
The Pennsylvania SHPO is part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).

Home Improvement Regulations

There are a number of items to keep in mind when it comes to certain National or Local limitations or regulations on historic / older homes.  You may need to go through an approval process before you begin a project.  Search a parcel to identify any national limitations and to follow any current regulations as set forth by the National Register. 

The most important item of consideration: “is there federal funding in place through any type of historic property preservation / grant program?”

You will also want to keep in mind the following, which we will cover in future:  

  • State Historic Preservation Office
  • Community / Association Regulations
  • Municipality Requirements
  • Historic District Guidelinees

Depending on the regulations or guidelines, it could alter your future plans on how you intended to modify the property.  Ensure you are performing your due diligence in advance … and hire an agent, like me, who obviously loves the details.  

Go back and take a look at last week’s episode of Between the Beams to learn about the Top 4 Pros and Cons of Historic Homeownership.  


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