Restoring Fireplaces 

We uncovered four fireplaces all in poor condition. I’m committed to saving them. My contractor found a mason but his bid was too high to restore them. I’m incredibly frustrated because in Brooklyn this would be a pretty straight forward and reasonably priced job. 

I got a few recommendations from some local folks and hoping I can find some reasonable prices and good work

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New Orleans Historic Tax Credits 

I heard about the tax credits while researching historic New Orleans structures. After reading some of the information, I assumed I didn’t qualify. As we found more clues to the age of the house I begin to investigate more. I called the state Tax preservation office and the nice woman on the phone walked me through the process- it’s not easy!

The State Residential Tax Credit – is a program that pays for 25% of your construction costs and fees (50% if vacant and blighted) with a cap of $25,000 per historic structure. In my case, 25% would be more than the cap, so I’m hoping to get the full $25,000, credited towards my Louisiana state taxes in equal installments over the next 5 years.

Part A of the application is applying to see if you qualify. And you must send photos—why does Louisiana still insist on printed photos in these times of floods, I’ll never know. If part A is approved then you go on to Part B. In Part B of application you outline all the work and costs. The application must include a thorough description of the existing structure and intentions for the renovation, along with a picture of each wall in the house keyed to the floor plans. I’m trying to understand how the federal program fits into all of this. If anyone has any info please let me know. 

Starting to Renovate

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I started the journey of buying a house in New Orleans two years ago. I went to New Orleans with some friends for a long weekend and like a lot of people who visit the city I fell in love. I had been to New Orleans years prior but mostly staying in the tourist sections. That trip two years ago was when I got properly acquainted with the city. And in that trip I declared, I was going to buy a house and one day live there.
I make declarations like that all the time. And mostly because I have no idea how hard doing certain things are until I’m actually in it. Which for me is a good thing because if I actually thought things through, I would probably be paralyzed with fear. Buying a house is not easy. Let’s get that out of the way. I went through the buying process a few times prior and it still doesn’t get easier. And renovating a house also isn’t easy.  You just have to grit your teeth and keep pushing.

So why this house? Well, for me there is never any true rhyme of reason. I usually buy what I can afford and I look for a house with good bones and character. I also look at other houses on the street. Do they have potential? Do they have good bones? Do the neighbors look out for each other? Do people speak to each other? Those are things that are important to me.

Since buying the house, I’ve learned some good lessons. One that property taxes are higher in New Orleans than in Brooklyn- I didn’t research this before hand. I actually didn’t research much except the history of the New Orleans. And to be honest, I’m kinda glad I didn’t because I would have talked myself out of buying.

But now that I have the house, what’s next?