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There are some misconceptions about heritage homes in Canada and how that designation impacts value. Some people think that a heritage distinction may be a detriment to the home’s value since they may be limited when it comes to physical alterations. Such a designation, however, may actually be a bonus when you decide to put your older home on the market, and here’s why:

You’re selling a special home and a part of your city’s history.

When your home comes with a historical distinction, it becomes the jewel in the crown, so to speak. It won’t reduce the value of the property. These are some of the benefits:

  • There are heritage grants you can access to make improvements to your home
  • You have access to people who can offer you advice on renovations
  • You may be able to take advantage of possible property tax rebates

If and when you decide to sell your home, your agent can use that heritage distinction as a positive marketing tool.

About the Designation

Heritage Acts in Canadian provinces and territories provide guidance to municipalities on how they should support heritage efforts. Most municipalities have heritage committees composed of local citizens and politicians who provide advice to municipal councils, while a municipal clerk keeps a log of heritage properties.

Here’s what heritage committees look for:

  • Whether your property has architectural value
  • Whether your property is associated with a particular person or historical event in the city, or helps others grasp the community or area’s character
  • Whether your property shows unique, detailed craftsmanship, artistic merit or some sort of technical or scientific achievement
  • Whether your property identifies as a landmark
  • Whether your property preserves a past legacy
  • Whether your property qualifies as part of modern heritage and is symbolic of what defines the community worldwide (properties don’t always have to be old)

It’s also important to know that the interior of your home is not usually included within the parameters of a designation, so you’re free to redesign, renovate or redecorate to your heart’s desire.

Exterior Changes

Once your home has a heritage distinction, there’s a process to follow if you’d like to change its outward appearance. You’ll have to make an application to the heritage committee. Pictures tell a thousand words, so be sure to include photos of what your property looks like at the time of your application, and how it will look after renovations are complete.

Committee members will be happy to lend their advice before you make your application. They may even give you the names of historians and architects who can give you some input with an end result of increasing the value of your heritage home.