Buying Historical Property in Arizona

Buying Historical Property in Arizona

Recently, it was announced that the last house designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Phoenix’s Norman Lykes Home, will soon go to auction with no reserve.  Also known as the “Circular Sun House,” this stunning property boasts a concentric design and decorative features throughout its interior that is in keeping with Wright’s artistic signature. Anyone looking at pictures of the listing could mistake the residence as having been untouched since its original 1967 construction.  Although this property was the final piece in the body of work of the famous and renowned architect, it’s not listed on the state’s historical registry.

As the Norman Lykes Home demonstrates, just because a house is old, and has some of its original character, does not mean it will be considered a historical property. However, numerous Arizona homes will be eligible for this designation.  If you are thinking of buying historic property in Arizona, here are some things to consider.

What Qualifies as a Historic Property?

In Arizona, a historic property is one that has met the criteria to be listed on either a local or federal historic register. This designation may occur for individual properties or as part of a district. While you may envision a 1900’s Victorian house or street, historic properties and neighborhoods may be younger than you think. For instance, Scottsdale’s Sands North has recently become the newest historic district with townhomes and residences built in the 1970s.

To be eligible, the property must be at least 50 years old, be historically significant, and have historical integrity.  To determine the dwelling’s historical connection, the registers look at numerous factors such as the property’s relationship to past events and figures, and the representation of period architecture and artistry. The property’s historical integrity is typically measured by its physical features, location, workmanship, and detail. When there have been significant renovations, it can result in the loss of historical integrity and ineligibility for the designation.

When it comes to the Norman Lykes Home, for example, although it is clearly older than 50 andhas historical and artistic significance, this stunning residence underwent a renovation in 1994 from being a five to three-bedroom home. Although the changes were approved by Wright’s Foundation and were completed in a style that conformed to the architect’s aesthetic, these changes are likely to have been significant enough to result in a loss of historic integrity.

Benefits of Historic Designation

By far, one of the most significant benefits of living in a home that meets the historic designation definition is the state’s historic property tax reclassification. Having a home or building on the National Register of Historic Places makes owners eligible to apply for an Arizona tax credit that can reduce the property owner’s bill significantly.  Homeowners can also enjoy living in residences and districts that have the classic features of a bygone era. However, owning this type of property usually comes with restrictions on making changes to the structure or exteriors or having to obtain approval for renovations.

Laura B. Bramnick is an experienced Arizona real estate attorney who has the expertise to help you examine the pros and cons of buying a historical property in the state.  If you are seeking an exceptional, client-driven real estate lawyer in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sedona, and throughout the State of Arizona, contact Laura B. Bramnick to schedule your consultation.

 

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