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What makes a Miami historic house special

Ines Hegedus-Garcia

If you have visited a Miami Beach historic house with me you know how I light up.  The architect in me wants to jump out and point out every single historic detail, no matter how minute.  I can't begin to tell you how many calls and e-mails we get from people wanting to know more about historic houses, or people thanking me for writing about window proportions, Historic Cuban Tile or Cuban Tile flooring

(There's even a Historic Homes category on the menu bar on the blog). The fact is that Miami historic real estate is my specialty - many times I point out features that listing agents are clueless about and later thank me.

Miami Shores Historic Home Rendering

But I'm not writing this post to pat myself on the back or to tell you "If you are buying a historic home in Miami, call me!!" (although it would be that easy).  The purpose of this post is to help you be critical about the reasons you may be captivated by historic homes.

I see it all in this business - the person that walks into a gorgeous Miami Beach Mediterranean Revival Home and appreciates every nook and cranny, and those that get disgusted by the "old feel" and want to replace everything in site with modern features. 

When showing a historic home, it is obvious who appreciates the home and who doesn't. So what is it you like about historic homes?  Is it the charm and character?  Is it the warm materials (textured stucco, hardwood floors, mill-work) Or is it just the look and feel of these properties? 

Are you aware that Historic Properties are known to hold their value much better than other properties and have a particular public who recognize the value and are willing to pay for it?  Whether Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, Tudor .....or whatever.......historic homes sell for more - I'm not making this up, the numbers prove it.

This doesn't mean that these homes may sell quicker (although many times they do), it means that they sell for more than the average home.  There are certain neighborhoods in Miami that have historic homes:  Miami Shores, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Miami Springs and Historic Morningside are the most known....but there are also hidden pockets with beautiful gems all around Miami......even where you least expect it.

Owning one of these old homes is not all fun and games either - with old homes comes a lot of work and sometimes problems.  From structural deflection (sagging beams), to old plumbing, to termite damage.  It's time to think of the reasons why you may be attracted to these old homes, and if you are not interested in working with the "buying an old home package" while paying a premium, then it may be a good idea to skip these altogether.

Please note that I'm not a purist either - I believe in reaching a happy medium between restoration and's doable, as long as you always respect proportions and materials.  Ultimately, you will be the one living in the house.....just think of resale value and don't go butchering and altering the historical integrity without taking into consideration the consequences, which could include resale value.

Have a historic problem or an anecdote you want to share about a historic house?  Add it to the comments so everyone can pitch in.

*originally published on October 8th, 2008*

cara 21st January, 2009

++historic homes sell for more - I'm not making this up, the numbers prove it.++

I'm very interested in your assertion above - and I wonder if you can supply the hard evidence to prove it. I recently started a blog about old houses in the New York/Philadelphia area and I said essentially the same thing in a post, but it was based on a gut feeling I have, nothing more. Do you know for a fact whether historic houses in your area are holding their value in the current market downtown? Thanks, and happy new year!

Ines Hegedus-Garcia 21st January, 2009

Hi Cara,
I definitely can pull numbers to prove that historic houses historically sell for more. As a matter of fact you have given me an idea for a market report for a couple of the historic areas that we service in the Miami Area - I will do average price per square foot for both historic and no-historic homes. Thanks for the idea.

mobikeith 1st February, 2011

In Mass (Boston), we have a program on Pub TV, This Old House, running for decades now that does restorations of old (colonial) homes with the materials and labor donated by various contractors and manufacturers in exchange for owners'sweat equity. Bob Vila, the original program host, left the show to enjoy fame/notoriety doing commercials for various building products.

Why not a show named, This Old Miami Villa, hosted by the Miamisms? ( You could quit your day jobs. )

I remain, just wondering,

Keith from the Northern Tundra known as Broward County

Rachel 31st January, 2011

Hi, I came upon this site when researching cuban tiles. I have an old Florida Mission style home with green and white original cuban tiles on the front porch. We renovated it and I need to repair the steps but can't seem to find these tiles. I would even be willing to do the steps with a complimentary tile that is not an exact match. I'm told there is still one manufacturer left in Miami. Do you have any info that might help? Thanks

Ines Hegedus-Garcia 31st January, 2011

Click above where it says "historic Cuban Tile" and it will take you to that article:

In that article I mention a company that makes them and also read the comments to get more information.

Hope that helps,

kilothought 15th March, 2015

What makes a Miami historic house special

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