Oklahoma City's historic neighborhoods see greater stability, appreciation

Increases in home values are seen in statistics ranging from a Realtor's records to a Rutgers University study commissioned by Preservation Oklahoma Inc. and the State Historic Preservation Office. Experts presented the data at the Statewide Preservation Conference.
by Richard Mize Published: June 29, 2013
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— George Massey keeps these stats handy for doubters.

A house in Edmond's Faircloud addition sold in 1995 for $228,333 and sold in 2012 for $340,000 — that's an increase of 49 percent.

A house in northwest Oklahoma City's Quail Creek area sold in 1993 for $170,000 and sold in 2011 for $288,500 — for an increase of 69 percent.

Massey, a Realtor, bought his own house in Oklahoma City's historic Heritage Hills in 1993 for $170,000 and it appraised in 2012 for $520,000 — an increase of 205 percent.

Investing in a historic home usually pays, he said at Our Sense of Place: Oklahoma's 25th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference, earlier this month in Perry.

Historic headaches

Of course, older homes can come with headaches, said Massey, a sales associate with RE/MAX First, 1000 Wilshire, Suite 428. Property disclosures are especially critical — for both sellers and buyers — he said.

Structural problems can be missed when buyers are wowed by more pleasing aspects of a historic home, he said, showing slide after slide of shims, bricks and blocks with no footings and even 2-by-4s used to shore up foundations, as well as leaning columns, drywall cracks and other flaws hard to detect by the unwary eye.

A general home inspection should be just the start when considering a historic house, Massey said. Others inspections include engineering, termite, mold, lead-based paint, roof, square footage, asbestos and radon, he said. Detection of problems need not derail a purchase, but must be dealt with, he said.

“If you're buying a $300,000 house, I'd spend $1,000 to $1,500 for inspections. It's a big investment,” Massey said.

Look closely

Sometimes detective work is required, he said, giving some examples.

Mold growing through a framed picture in one dining room came from rain getting in through a small crack in a mortar joint at an upstairs bedroom window that ended beside a valley of a lower hip roof. Mold along a ceiling in another house wasn't from a roof leak, but from a dryer vent exhausting into a tight attic space. A clogged drain in a flower bed caused mold beneath a window that found its way inside and behind paneling in a study.

Such obstacles take little away from the appeal of buying a house and living in a historic district, said Katie McLaughlin Friddle, historic preservation officer with the Oklahoma City Planning Department.

Her presentation at the statewide preservation conference was “Beyond the Quaint Charm and Original Fireplaces: The Tangible and Intangible Benefits of Living in a Historic District.”

Plenty of payback

Friddle broke the benefits down into categories:

• Sustainability: Historic houses generally have light-colored exteriors that reflect light and heat; have working windows that allow ventilation; have tall ceilings to allow heat to rise from living space; have wide porches and wide eaves that provide shade across the faced; and often have mature trees providing extra summer shade.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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