Eligible to Register

As I mentioned in the last post, I had some visitors over to see the house in the hopes of pursuing listing on the National Register of Historic Places. You might be asking why…so I’ll tell you.

The National Register of Historic Places is the federal list of districts, sites, buildings, and structures deemed worthy of preservation. Established in 1966 as part of the National Historic Preservation Act, the register is an honorary distinction that does NOT prohibit a property owner from altering their property in any way they see fit (including demolition). What it does protect is any listed property from being altered or adversely affected by any project that utilizes federal funds without due-process and oversight from the State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service. Also, your property does not have to be a building of national significance, instead the whole goal of the register is to instill pride and spread knowledge of communities’ cultural heritage at a local level. Where it gets more enticing are the Rehabilitation Tax Credits offered at the State and Federal levels. The rehabilitation tax credits seek to incentivize the revitalization of historic properties and communities. In New York State the combined tax credits available for the rehabilitation of income producing properties that are listed on the National Register is a whopping 40% of the construction costs. This rehabilitation tax credit system is one of only a few government tax incentive programs that actually nets a significant return on investment, but don’t take my word for it, check out what others more knowledgeable than me have proven about it.

Now you may note that MPLMP is not an income producing property (unless I rent out a room, but that gets a little complicated). Luckily New York State has one more rehabilitation tax credit program, the Homeowner Rehabilitation Tax Credit. Where with a project of $5000 or more you can get 20% back on taxes…with one catch, there’s always one isn’t there?….not only does you home need to be on the National Register, either individually, or as a contributing property to a district, you have to be within a census tract whose household median income is at or below the state median household income. Guess what??? MPLMP is in a census tract that qualifies. Huzzah!

Thus my long winded answer as to why I have begun this whole process. My visitors, Cynthia Howk (my mentor since the early days) of the Landmark Society and an adviser, to remain anonymous, toured the house with me. Needless to say Cynthia was thrilled, as she had been chomping at the bit ever since I began to tell her about MPLMP. I took them from the basement to the attic highlighting all the great original features and fixtures. I then, as brief as I could (not very brief), explained what I knew about this whole “Master Model Home” thing and showed them the over a dozen news articles on the house (don’t worry I promise I will write about this soon). They concluded that I had a notable home due to its physical integrity, and to die for documentation and publicity….however….the vinyl siding would certainly provide me with a difficult hurdle to achieving individual listing on the National Register. They both advised that I start the process of application, and remove more vinyl siding to show commitment to taking it all off, but both thought I had a very good chance of being individually eligible.

So, now I have an excuse to remove the vinyl siding around the front door and do some test painting! Also, I plan to delay my needed repairs to the garage and chimneys until next year so I can cash in on that sweet 20%. Now if only I could get a few rainy days and some free time to start filling out those forms….


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