I’m just about to put a home across the MLS that is rather historic…it is the birthplace of Gordon B. Hinkley, the 15th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There’s not a bronze plaque outside the front door noting the significance of the property, but there could be if the owners wanted to get one to display there. Would President Hinkley recognize the place if he were still alive? In this example of a historic property, yes, the President would easily recognize his childhood manse as the house is virtually intact on the outside with a wonderfully restored and upgraded interior inside.
If you own a historic home that may be in need of a makover and would like to find money to rehabilitate it, your ship has come in! Thanks to the lowest interest rates in history, home owners can get loans from the Utah Heritage Foundation for restoration, rehabilitation and repair at half of the current U.S. Prime Rate. You have to have good credit and income to apply and receive the money from the UHF and there are a few rules as to what the money can be used for:
First priority for funding is placed on exterior improvements, including: brick, chimneys, doors, foundations, masonry, porches, reconstructing existing additions, roofs, seismic retrofitting, siding repair, and windows. Second priority for funding is placed on interior systems, including: code compliance, electrical systems, heating, insulation, and plumbing. Third priority for funding is placed on interior finishes. For example, UHF will not fund a kitchen remodel if the roof needs to be repaired. However, a kitchen and/or bathroom remodel can be funded if they are incorporated into a more comprehensive rehabilitation project.
How do you know if your property is historic? The UHF can help by having one of their staff come visit your home. The basic criteria would be: 1) is it listed on the National Register of Historic Places? 2) Is it listed on a local register of historic or cultural resources? And 3) Is it eligible to be a contributing building within a local or national historic district? To quote them, “In general terms, to be eligible, a building must be at least 50 years old AND retain its architectural integrity.”
The loan cannot be used for concrete pads (parking/patio), fences, incompatible materials (like vinyl windows in a Victorian house), landscaping, new construction (tearing down a home or building one on a vacant lot), refinancing mortgages and putting up retaining walls. Then again, what you want and need is decided on a case by case basis by the staff. The terms of the loan are good because of the low interest rates and offer low monthly payments based on a 20-year amortization schedule, but the payment term for the loan is 5 years with a balloon payment of the remaining principal and interest due at the end of the fifth year.
The Utah Heritage Foundation has been around since the 1960’s grants loans all over Utah and is helping to protect our history and architectural past. You can follow them and their projects on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/preservationutah/ or go to their site at www.utahheritagefoundation.com and learn more about what they do for all of us Utahns. There’s also a great kids game on their home page – a hunt for the secret silver coins of the Kearns Mansion.