Skip to content

Q and A

Q+A Q-aguys Some frequently asked questions on SPNEA's Old House Resource Line (781) 891-1985, ext 229.

What color should I paint my historic house?
A palette of historically accurate exterior and interior paint colors is available from SPNEA’s Museum Shop. If you want to know the color history of your own house, you will need to consult a preservation professional for paint analysis, which can be a costly process. Contact your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for further information (See below).

How do I find reliable contractors to work on my historic property?
Both Old-House Journal and Traditional Building magazines list contractors and/or companies that provide services for historic home owners. Other resources include trade shows and local historical societies. Remember always to get three bids and check references. SPNEA does not provide a list of contractors, painters, or preservation professionals; however, your SHPO may be able to provide a resource list.

What is the National Register of Historic Places and how can I get my property listed on it?
The National Register of Historic Places is a list of buildings, structures, districts, sites, and objects that have been determined to have national historic significance. It is maintained by the National Park Service and administered on the state level by the SHPO in each state. National Register listing offers limited protection from state and federally funded projects. Listing does not limit a property owner’s rights and may provide some tax and funding incentives for historic preservation. Before a property is deemed eligible for the National Register, the nomination must be evaluated at the state level.

What funding sources are available for historic preservation?
Public funding for privately-owned historic homes is very limited. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has established the FHA 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program, which provides low interest loans for historic preservation. Contact your regional HUD office for approved lenders in your area. The Secretary of the Interior offers grants-in-aid for National Register properties, which is administered through the SHPO. These grants are available to individuals, public and private organizations, and non-federal units of government. The SHPO may also have other grants or funding programs available, such as a preservation projects fund. The current tax incentives are 20% Invest-ment Tax Credits, which apply to income-producing properties listed on the National Register. Such rehabilitation work is subject to review by the National Park Service and the SHPO.

—James Lee
Old House Resource Line

Q and A