By Elaine VonCannon, ABR, SRES, Associate Broker, Notary, Team Leader, Property Manager, Award Winning Agent

Many real estate investors in Virginia have already profited from historic preservation. According to the web site, “Since 1976, owners of historic buildings in Virginia have successfully rehabilitated more than 800 landmark buildings. They have invested more than 645.5 million in private funds.” In the Mosby Heritage Area in Northern Virginia, smart, land rich historic preservation projects have been underway for some time.

Preservationists renovated historic buildings and residences, and other extensions on Virginia estate properties including: equestrian facilities, wineries and vineyards, rolling hills, hardwood forests, farms, and more.

Virginia Counties Gloucester, Mathews, New Kent County, Isle of Wight, Surrey & Smithfield — Great Real Estate Investment Properties

The unique colonial character and rich American history of the Williamsburg area of Virginia makes it a great location for historic preservation. Because historic renovation projects have been taking place in Williamsburg since the 1920s, this area may be at saturation point for investment in historic properties. Because of the surrounding counties closeness to the Williamsburg market, home buyers and real estate investors who chose to purchase and renovate historic properties in surrounding areas such as Gloucester, Mathews, New Kent County, Isle of Wight County, Surrey and Smithfield, are making a sound investmen. The growth of the greater Williamsburg area indicates a rise in property values for surrounding areas, as well. There are still plenty of farmettes, waterfront estates, equestrian estates, and more in these counties that are within a half hour to 45-minute distance from Williamsburg.

Federal Tax Credits for Historic Renovation and Preservation

As extra motivation for renovating historic property, investors and home buyers will also reap federal and state tax benefits. The Federal tax credit programs for historic renovation projects are exceptional. Property owners may deduct 20% of expenses incurred for rehabilitating certified historic properties. This applies to income producing properties, too, such as apartments and office buildings. A 10% federal tax deduction is available for homebuyers and real estate investors who renovate non-historic buildings constructed prior to 1936.

Virginia Tax Credits for Historic Renovation & Preservation

In 1997, the Commonwealth of Virginia implemented a state tax credit program for historic renovation projects. A 25% tax deduction is available for renovating certified historic properties, both income producing properties and owner-occupied buildings. Visit the Virginia Department of Historic Resources for more specific information about these tax credits.

Gloucester and Mathews are Sound Real Estate Investments

Gloucester and Mathews are coastal towns with many properties on or near the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. For the home buyer or real estate investor interested in these areas, waterfront estates and farmettes are not uncommon. During the early and late Colonial period, plantations, farms, and estates were numerous in Gloucester and Mathews because of proximity to waterways.

Historic Properties in Isle of Wight County, Surrey, and Smithfield

Isle of Wight County, Surrey, and the historic town of Smithfield are situated on the James River and its tributaries. In early Colonial times, these areas were just across the river from Jamestown Island, the 17th Century center of life and commerce in Virginia. Many farmettes, waterfront estates, and plantations are located in these areas. In Surrey and Isle of Wight County, there are numerous historic properties that qualify for federal and state tax credits, and many historic properties have fallen into a state of disrepair. Due to development and expansion of the Williamsburg area in the last 10 years, Isle of Wight and Surrey are becoming more popular. This region is served by the Jamestown Island/Scotland Ferry, which is free. This reliable, year round service offers residents easy access to Williamsburg via a short ferry ride.

New Kent County

The birthplace of Martha Washington and other early American notables, New Kent County, Virginia is growing in leaps and bounds, with the addition of higher end golf and gated communities with custom contemporary estates. Just a half hour west of Williamsburg, parts of New Kent County sit on the Chicahominy River and its tributaries. There are many historic properties and waterfront estates in this area, which is becoming more exclusive as time passes. New Kent County is almost halfway between Williamsburg and Richmond, and is still mostly rural and quiet. Farming is one of the main occupations of inhabitants of New Kent County.

Historic Preservation and American History

For the home buyer or real estate investor interested in preserving part of American history, or immersing him or herself in part of our rich past by renovating and living in a historic property, counties near Williamsburg Virginia are a good place to begin. I have been living in the area all of my life, and am familiar with the land, properties, people and history.