Should you buy a heritage home in Toronto?

Posted By on Apr 8, 2014 | 0 comments

HeritageThere is no shortage of heritage homes in Toronto.  Unfortunately we have lost many in the past due to speculation, ignorance and greed(some people might choose different words: progress, renewal and efficiency ;))  Luckily now it is very hard to significantly modify or demolish these beauties of the past.

There’s something about a heritage home that captures the imagination. The round turrets, the wrought iron, the graceful front porch—there’s so much charm!

When you’ve fallen in love with a grand old home, should that heritage brass plaque at the front door beckon you or trigger a flight reflex?

Heritage designation of a property under the Ontario Heritage Act protects historically significantly buildings from being demolished or from renovations “unsympathetic” to their architecture.

But what should you know about owning a historical property? Will the designation affect your investment positively or negatively? According to Rachelle Czartorynskyj of Mortgage Source Canada, “the way value is affected would depend on the overall condition of the property, how it has been maintained and the location.” For example, a well-kept, beautiful heritage home will have a high value and may increase the property value of other homes on the street. But a derelict property that cannot be demolished due to its heritage designation may prove to be nothing more than an eyesore.

Once upon a time, the Ontario Heritage Act had designated funds to help property owners with upkeep. Today’s heritage homeowners are on their own(surprise!), though the obligations still exist. Renovations to heritage properties, particularly those of the front façade of the building, require special permits and approvals.

Fortunately/Unfortunately There are many restrictions in place to preserve the original character of the home that will restrict the home owner in their choice of finishes and materials.  Often some new energy efficient windows or roofing materials cannot be used due to the heritage guidelines, the home owner will have no choice but to install other products that might be more costly to install or operate.

As with so many things, do your research before signing. Heritage properties can be a wonderful investment into the past; just make sure you aren’t sacrificing your future.