Home Buying in San Jose>Question Details

Lena, Home Buyer in California

Historic Landmark - what doe is mean for the buyer?

Asked by Lena, California Thu May 22, 2008

We are thinking about buying a house in San Jose, that is marked as "Historic Landmark ". Is it smart idea?
What does it actually mean for us as for the owners?


Help the community by answering this question:


You may possibly be able to get special funds for renovations, but will likely have to retain the original character of the structure. If you don't get a definitive answer, you might look here to see what you can find:

2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2008
Hi Lena,

you have a lot of good info so far. Here is one more piece....you may be able to save on property tax. Check out this site

Web Reference: http://www.mikemoresco.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2008
Hi Lena,
Historic homes have many benefits that outweigh the restrictions or negatives. First, that kind of charm & craftsmanship is rarely duplicated today. The quality of the timber used is often outstanding. And if they floor plan works for you, they can be updated inside so you can enjoy modern ammenities along with the historic aspects of the home. And sometimes if modifications are needed, the City may be able to loan or subsidize the project as long as it is in keeping with the historic guidelines.
I am listing a home in the Shasta-Hanchett Park neighborhood of the Rose Garden that is an Historic home. My clients are very sad about selling, as they are just getting into the history aspects of the home and the neighborhood. They love the location, and they love the home.
Happy House Hunting,
Linda Baker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2008
Hi Lena,

What a great opportunity! So many people are building new homes these days, and going to great lengths to make them look like old homes. It's great that you want to help to preserve a part of the legacy of our city. =)

Here is an additional City of San Jose document that provides info on the Historic Landmark Preservation Ordinance. http://www.sanjoseca.gov/planning/Historic/pdf/HistoricPrese…

There are some other things to consider pertaining the age of the property. Building techniques were quite a bit different than are utilized today. Un-reinforced brick foundations were common in many of the homes of the era. Plumbing and electrical systems have also changed quite a bit also. The home you are interested in may have had additions and modifications to these systems. Invest the time to hire a property inspector that is familiar with these homes to make sure you know what you are starting with. I have a few I can recommend. Feel free to contact me for a referral.

Best of luck!

(408) 410-9139
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2008
Hello Lena,
there are restrictions with historic landmarks, so make sure you like the style, size and the floor plan before you buy it. The one advantage is that you maybe able to get a break on your property tax, please check with the assessors office.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2008
Lena -

Historic landmark homes provide a continuous heritage for the area. Owners of the historic landmark designated homes tend to be very proud of their possessions and take great pride in maintaining and presenting them in the neighborhood.

As mentioned below, there may be restrictions about modifications to color, front appearance, structure modifications (expansion/remodeling), colors/painting (may not be able to change siding to stucco...) and other ideas that may deviate from the original intent of the design, presence, or intention of the home within the neighborhood.

The disclosures provided should indicate the limits and restrictions. Here is another doc that might help about the historic district plan.

http://www.sanjoseca.gov/planning/Historic/pdf/San_Jose_DGs_chapt7.pdf -

Web Reference: http://www.TalkToCJ.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2008
Owners of historic landmarks typically have to follow some specific guidelines about what you can and cannot do with the property. If you remodel - what you can and cannot change, etc.
A lot of it depends on who has deemed it to be a historical site. Is it on the national register of historic places, or is it registered through a more localized group?
You may want to consult a lawyer on this one, as they can tell you exactly what the designation means, where it comes from - and most importantly - what laws are applicable.

It's not necessarily a bad thing - it's just something that you want to make sure you know what you're getting into before you jump right in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2008
Lena, it means you cannot make any structural changes to the building. No additions no nothing. Only restoration. What you see is what you get and it has to stay that way. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2008
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