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There are over 100 buildings in the San Diego area that made their way to the National Register of Historic Places. Post offices, hotels, even the Pumping Station and Water Tower in University Heights is on the list.

For some, the magnetic draw to historic buildings is a force that cannot be ignored, regardless of the condition. The history, the architecture, the charm, and planning that accompany historical homes are timeless.

San Diego County Helps Historic Homeowners

The Mills Act, named after James Mills, a State Senator and founder of the San Diego Trolley system, allows 20% to 70% savings on property taxes, in exchange for restoring and maintaining qualified buildings. The contract’s with the City of San Diego last ten years and the contract benefits transfer to the new owner if you sell your property before the contract expires.

The cities of San Diego, Escondido, La Mesa, Coronado, and Chula Vista, adopted The Mills Act, but it also covers buildings in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.

Historic Districts in San Diego

We have several historic districts in San Diego, a few of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Point Loma Theosophical Institute
  • Gaslamp District is on
  • The National Register of Historic Places
  • Old Town San Diego also on the National Register
  • Golden Hill
  • Grant Hill
  • Sherman Heights
  • Shirley Ann Place
  • Talmadge Gates
  • Ocean Beach Cottage Emerging District

Before You Join the History Club

As any owner of a classic home will tell you, living in a 100-year old home has its advantages and disadvantages. Take caution before diving in head first, as there are may be serious damage or other hazards behind that fantastic facade.

Hire an engineer to perform a structural inspection before you consider any other steps towards ownership. Gravity, decay, earthquakes all take their toll on the foundation and supports of an older building.

Research what kinds of special permits and rehabilitation guidelines, including the Historical Building Code you will need to comply with if you plan to make upgrades or do repairs. Older homes may contain asbestos and lead paint, so hire professionals to perform specific tests for these potentially hazardous materials.

Be prepared for costly renovation estimates. In recent years, restoring historical homes in the area carry price tags of $500,000 or more. Time, labor, materials designated for antique buildings add up to a sound financial investment in a hurry.

The Final Result Is Worth The Effort

Do your research on the home’s history; county records will give you sale dates and provenance of your potential home. You may discover someone noteworthy once lived there. Thanks to The Mills Act, the tax incentive and savings might help offset the cost of restoration. Plus, you’re preserving a piece of our San Diego history for future generations.

Interested In Taking A Step Back In Time?

I’m always eager to share San Diego history through real estate. Let’s start your journey today, click here to contact me.