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Preserve History and Save on Property Taxes? Maybe, with The Mills Act.

Written by Nook Real Estate on Friday, March 25th, 2016 at 2:50pm.

You love historic properties. You love maintaining and beautifying your home. And you love saving money on taxes. Sounds good, right? We thought so! If you own or are in the market for an historic home, you’re going to want to read up on the Mills Act, which could save you up to 50 percent on property taxes if you qualify. To get you started, we’ve got the *NookNotes version (think of it as inspired by SparkNotes!) with the top-line details you need to know about the Mills Act below. Read on for more information!

What is the Mills Act?

Adopted by the California Legislature in 1976, the Mills Act gives local governments the authority to grant property tax relief to owners of qualified historic properties, including owner-occupied and income producing properties. In exchange for this relief, the property owners must agree by contract to maintain the properties in accordance with specific historic preservation standards and conditions. The overall intent of the legislation is to provide an incentive for owners to preserve and maintain the community’s historic resources. The preservation of important resources and neighborhoods has beneficial indirect effects on local contractors, businesses and community pride. Recent studies indicate that ongoing maintenance to maintain the integrity of historic homes increases both property values of the structure and the historic district in general. A Mills Act contract is transferred from seller to buyer in a completed home sales transaction.

Key Mills Act Facts:

Completely voluntary program
Provides an economic incentive to encourage preservation of historic properties by reducing property taxes
Can be used by homeowners as well as income producing historic properties.
Includes a commitment to preserve and maintain the property for a minimum of 10 years
Is a contract between the City and the owner of a designated historic property

How do I know if my property qualifies for the Mills Act?

Only certain properties can use this preservation incentive. Properties listed on an official federal, state, county, or city register, including the National Register of Historic Places, the California Register of Historical Resources, the California Register of Historical Landmarks, California Points of Historical Interest and local survey listings are eligible for Mills Act contracts.

Any architecturally or historically significant (contributing) properties listed in the City’s Historic Survey would be eligible to participate in the Mills Act Program.

Where can I find historic properties in Orange County?

The answer is, of course, in almost every city! There are, however, certain historic districts that have a relative abundance of Mills Act-eligible, registered homes and commercial properties. In Anaheim, you’l find them in the Anaheim Colony, Five Points, Historic Palm and Hoskins Districts. In Santa Ana, you’ll see them in Floral Park, the Artists Village, Historic 4th Street, the Calle Cuatro Marketplace, the East End, the West End, and in the Civic Center/Courthouse District. And, in Orange, in the Olde Towne Historic District, where you’ll find more than 50 different architectural styles, including Bungalow, Mediterranean, Craftsman Bungalow, Prairie, Craftsman, Spanish Colonial, Hip Roof Cottage, and Victorian.

For more information on the Mills Act:

Please see the link below or call your Nook Real Estate specialist at 888.220.NOOK

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