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  • fyi, not sure if this applies to you, but I looked into this as well after buying my home (it was built in 1895). we decided against it because we were advised that there would be a lot of restrictions on the type of work/additions we could do to our house. I also remember being told that we would have to open up our house 1 or 2 times a year for people on tours to come through (which didn’t seem that bad). not 100% sure on this though.

    either way, good luck!

  • While I fully support preservation, I am not sure what the appeal is to designate your home. Did something special happen there? Was there some special history? Like the other poster, it might only create a lot of red tape if you need to do any repairs in the future. Also, it might be a hit when and if you try to sell your house. You suddenly just made a few buyers no longer interested in your home, because they would be tied to this designation that you pursued. I would recommend looking into if your neighborhood might get that designation any time soon.

  • I applied for this program a few years ago – the process wasn’t difficult although in the end I didn’t get a grant. I was told that other projects that would have a more substantial impact on the neighborhood were funded that year.

    I’d encourage you to apply.

  • I’m the manager of the Historic Homeowner Grant program run out of he DC Office of Planning/Historic Preservation Office. Yes, I read PoP, usually because of the awesome Door of the Day photos.

    Most questions are answered in the FAQ doc at the link in PoPs original post.

    The application process is simple, but takes a while due to our thorough process. As a homeowner your only post-project obligation is not to reverse any improvements (take them off, remove them, etc.), or if damage occurs to the improvements, you fix them back at your own cost. This obligation lasts for 5 years and takes the form of a covenant agreement placed on the property (which expires at the end of the 5 years).

    There is no tour requirement. The tour myth is a common urban legend whenever a preservation project is publicly funded. Maybe in another city, but not in DC.

    Your house has to be in one of the 12 historic districts delineated in the legislation. Check here to see if you are in a historic district: http://propertyquest.dc.gov/ Your house must be old and not built recently, e.g. a 1970s townhouse is not eligible. Your gross income must meet eligibility tests for low- to moderate-income households prorated based on the number of people in your household.

    Owners select their own contractor. DC pays for the work, so DC selects which items will be part of the project. Homeowner has the right to decline an item that they do not want. The grant selection process favors projects that will have the most dramatic before & after results on any street-facing side of the house, but the grant can also be used for flat roofs and rears if those are preservation priorities.

    The next application cycle should begin in August for restoration projects to be done in spring 2014. You may submit a Part I application at any time rather than wait til August.

    • WOW, I very well thought out and helpful response. I only wise more employees of the DC government had ability and/or desire to be as responsive to its residents.

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