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Historic Preservation – What Realtors Should Know

By August 4, 2021No Comments
Historic Preservation – What Realtors Should Know - Tru Realty Phoenix

Any Realtor who has been in the Valley over the last several years should now be well aware of the historic neighborhoods in the central core of Phoenix as well as the surrounding cities in the Valley. It follows that the attention from the real estate community is all about the strong demand among buyers for historic houses, older neighborhoods, and their interesting or unique architectural styles. Together, these are the characteristics that define the historic neighborhoods, drive the market demand, and ultimately their economic value.

July’s monthly newsletter for the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business featured “Historic Homes” as the lead topic, leading to their feature seminar on historic preservation held on July 23, 2021. It was highly successful, attracting 105 attendees from around Arizona.

Yes, there is interest from the real estate community about the whole concept of historic homes and neighborhoods. That means Realtors need to be able to communicate the complexities of preservation to homebuyers, and to sellers who may not be fully aware of the various benefits that historic designations bring.

There are also common perceptions like, “historic means you can’t make any changes,” or “there are complex regulations,” and “every home gets a tax break.” There is some truth to all of that, but what is really important … Shouldn’t the Realtor know the answers as accurately as possible, or at least know the basics?

Again, yes.

From my nearly 40-year background as a preservation planner at the city and state levels, I’ve been involved in the preservation movement in Phoenix since its inception. For most of that time, I held an active real estate license while working with a wide range of clients. Now, having worked on both the regulatory side and the real estate side, I understand what is relevant for Realtors to know in order to avoid confusion and misunderstanding – which should be the lead concern of the Realtor.

Realtor Training Opportunity – Historic Preservation Training

I’ve developed a training called the “Historic Preservation, What the Realtor Should Know”, that addresses some of the key issues of buying or selling a historic home. Here is a preview of some of the topics we’ll cover in further detail.

  • Is there a difference between the Phoenix Historic Property Register vs. the National Register of Historic Places, and why does it matter? It matters because one is regulatory and involves permitting, and one is tied to the State Historic Property Tax Reduction.
  • Is my property in a historic district, or where are the historic districts? There are currently 36 designated historic districts in Phoenix encompassing an estimated 8,000 houses, and that number is expanding. Lots of houses/neighborhoods are now reaching 50 years of age, the standard age for defining “historic.”
  • What modifications are acceptable? The focus of the preservation in the regulatory framework is on exterior, including the façade and portions of the sides – “what is generally visible to the public view.” Alterations to the rear yard, adding a patio cover or even a pool in the rear “private” yard is generally not a big deal and is typically approved by a “Certificate of No Effect.”

Become a More Well-Rounded Agent

The process and review procedures can get technical, and yes, it is confusing, but that’s why I created a specific training course targeted to the standard regulations. The goal is not necessarily to turn all agents into professional preservationists but to make them sufficiently conversant in the process so that the agent will know the basics. You’ll walk away knowing how to provide a reasonable standard of practice or refer the client to someone who does know.

Equally important to the Realtor is having a basic understanding of the architectural styles of the houses in the various neighborhoods that create the image and personality that buyers are often seeking. The training course includes an extensive section on architectural history and how to differentiate 1920s designs from the 1940s mass-production houses that are now historic by age and architecture.

New Tru Historical Training Course Coming Soon

In October 2021, the training course, “Historic Preservation, What the Realtor Should Know”, will be a standard feature offered by Tru University – the educational arm of Tru Realty. In the meantime, agents or brokers can contact me directly regarding seminars and in-house training sessions at

About the Author

Roger Brevoort never expected to leave New England, but he was enticed by a job opportunity at the Arizona Historic Preservation Office in Phoenix. It was only logical that Roger would integrate his interest in architectural history into the real estate profession. Roger was immediately involved in identifying many of the original historic districts in Phoenix, establishing boundaries, researching architects and architectural styles.


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