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insurance for historic home

We were lucky to stumble upon the Old House Fair in South Park San Diego yesterday.  South Park is a charming neighborhood and is known as one of the major historic urban communities of San Diego.

Vendors at the fair were local businesses selling home furnishings and improvements for owners of Craftsman homes.  Since we just closed escrow (Monday) on a Craftsman home built in the early 1900’s, the timing of this fair was perfect!

We stopped by the information booth and talked to the nice folks at SOHO, Save Our Heritage Organisation (we’re not sure why they spell organization like organization, but they do).  SOHO works to preserve, promote and support preservation of the architectural, cultural, and historical links and landmarks that contribute to the community identity, depth and character of San Diego. To contact SOHO, visit or call 619-297-9327 or 619-297-7511.

In my years of selling real estate, I always saw the historical plaques on older Spanish and Craftsman homes, but never really knew the benefits of having a historic property until yesterday.

The Mills Act is a historical designation that can give a property tax savings to encourage the preservation, maintenance and restoration of designated historical properties. 

According to the San Diego Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk:

“The Mills Act provides that property that is subject to a historical property contract be valued using the rental income that could be expected from that property rather than using comparable sales to establish the assessed value.”

The man we spoke with at SOHO said the more recent the home is purchased, the greater the tax savings.  Historical property owners can save between 20-70%!  In our case, this could result in a savings of $6000+/year. 

To qualify for the Mills Act, the property must meet certain criteria such as:

–       significant architecture,

–       association with a historically significant event or person,

–       be located in a historic district. 

Once the property receives this designation, the owners must protect, maintain and rehabilitate the property to preserve its historical integrity. 

The main benefits of the Mills Act are:

–       You get a HUGE reduction in property taxes (20-70%),

–       There are no supplemental bills if under contract at the time of transfer or completion of new construction,

–       The historical designation can be transfered to new owners  if the property is sold.  This can mean huge tax savings to the new buyer which could result in a higher than average sales price.

Although there are a lot of benefits with owing an older home, some owners may have difficulty finding home insurance.  Many insurance carriers don’t like the risks associated with insuring older homes and will usually decline a policy to a home built before 1950. 

If you have a home that was built before 1950 and are having trouble finding home, fire or property insurance, contact Einhorn Insurance.  We’ve insured homes and apartment building built in the early 1900’s with no issues.

For more information about the Mills Act or information about home insurance for older homes, call Einhorn Insurance at 858-336-4644, or email

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