A Deep Dive into Nashville's Historical Property Investments - Article Banner

Who doesn’t love a historic home? 

In Nashville, there is a lot of real estate that’s historic, adored, and not for sale. There’s The Hermitage, which was once owned by President Andrew Jackson. Visitors stroll through Belle Meade Plantation and the Belmont Mansion and the Ambrose House. If you like a bit of rustic charm with your history, check out The Buchanan Log House in Nashville, which was built in 1807 from chestnut logs. 

Plenty of historic homes are out of reach for real estate investors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in a property with a lot of history and stories to tell. If you’re looking for such an investment property, make sure you’re working with a real estate and property management partner who knows their way around Nashville’s historic properties market. 

At Apex Ventures, Inc., we enjoy working with investors who have an interest in historic properties. We can not only show you what’s available, but also make some recommendations on how to preserve that historic charm while offering a modern home to the tenants who may rent it from you.

Let’s take a deep dive into Nashville’s historical property investments and talk about how to keep them preserved and well-maintained. 

Nashville’s Role in Hosting Historic Properties

Depending on where you want to invest in Nashville and what kind of property you’re most interested in buying, there are some specific neighborhoods that will meet your needs. For investors interested in history and architecture, we’ll want to show you homes in those Nashville neighborhoods that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

These include: 

  • Belle Meade Links Triangle
  • Belmont-Hillsboro
  • Buena Vista
  • East Nashville (including portions of Lockland Springs and East End)
  • Edgefield
  • Germantown
  • Hillsboro-West End
  • Old Hickory Village
  • Richland-West End
  • Waverly Place
  • Whites Creek
  • Woodland in Waverly

These are the neighborhoods that offer the best chance at historical properties. And, you’ll also find rising property values and steady rental prices. 

What does it mean to be listed as a part of the National Register of Historic Places? 

A lot. National Historic Landmarks are historic places significant to our country and its history and culture. These areas are designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. 

In 2024, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. Nashville is proud to be home to six National Historic Landmarks, which include the George Peabody College for Teachers, The Hermitage, Jubilee Hall, Fisk University, Downtown Presbyterian Church, Ryman Auditorium, and the Tennessee State Capitol.

We’d be happy to tell you more about the neighborhoods that have made history, and to show you the properties that might be available there and aligned with your investment goals. 

Investing in Your Historic Nashville Property 

Once you have explored the neighborhoods and districts that we’ve identified, you’ll want to decide what home style you’re most interested in buying. It might be a Victorian or a Federal design. Maybe you want a log cabin. 

Working with a real estate professional who specializes in historic properties will help you to understand the specifics of buying a home with history. Your professional partner will help you to understand the nuances of historic homes. You’ll get some smart tips on the importance of preservation and you’ll learn some of the financial requirements that come with these properties. You’ll get some guidance on inspections so that your historic property isn’t just fun to look at, but easy to rent out because it has a sound structure and “good bones.” 

Financing your property is an important step in becoming an investor in historic property.

As with any property investment, you’ll need to consider your financing options. You’re probably not paying in cash. Luckily, if you’re trending towards a traditional mortgage, lenders often view historic homes as safe investments. But, there may be special inspection or appraisal requirements. The age and historical impact of your property may influence what you’re able to borrow and how you’re able to structure your loan. 

You might also look for grants and financial incentives for the restoration of your property. If improvements and upgrades are needed after you buy, you can look for financial help through community partners, associations, and even government sources. 

The inspection of your property will be especially important. 

Because of their age, historic homes can have considerations and issues that newer properties simply do not encounter. You’ll want to hire an experienced inspector familiar with historic homes so you can get an idea of: 

  • Outdated electrical or plumbing issues
  • Roofing problems
  • Structural concerns

This inspection can give you a clear picture of what you’re getting into, and allow you to budget for any repairs that may be needed once you close on that property.

Some of the bonuses that may be uncovered during the inspection include original hardwood floors, intricate crown molding, and vintage fixtures, layouts, and rooms. All of those special traits are worth preserving as they’ll add value to your property. 

Nashville Zoning Laws and Legal Restrictions 

A lot of historic homes in Nashville are protected by laws that may limit what you’re able to do when you’re upgrading, updating, and renovating. There are zoning laws in the more historic Nashville neighborhoods. Those regulations are in place to preserve the character and historic charm of these areas. These laws can influence important design decisions, including paint color, window installations, and landscaping. Make sure you understand the zoning laws before you make a costly mistake. 

Preservation guidelines are in place locally to ensure that renovations respect and preserve the home’s historical integrity. You may have to agree to use specific materials or techniques. The end result may need to match the property’s original era. 

It won’t be easy or cheap, but the investment is worth the extra effort and resources. 

Maintenance Costs and Requirements 

Owning a historic property is often more expensive and detailed than owning a newer property. 

There will be regular maintenance requirements, renovations, and long-term costs to consider. Like any property, historic homes require regular upkeep to maintain their condition and value. Because your property is historic, you may want to plan and budget for: 

  • More frequent painting
  • Repairs and upgrades of old plumbing or electrical systems
  • Caring for original woodwork

Don’t be surprised by these costs; you want to factor them into your maintenance budget. 

Long-term costs can include things like replacing a roof made of historic materials or updating the heating and cooling systems to be more efficient. Zero homes had air conditioning in the 1800s. The cost of making modern upgrades will be higher than those upgrades you would make for newer homes.

Balancing History and Modern Living  

Nashville has been a city since 1806. With more than two hundred years of history, architecture, and real estate woven into its local culture, investors will want to balance the history of old homes with the needs of modern city dwellers. 

Make it a point to respect the history of Nashville while also meeting the needs and the demands of the current housing market. There are a lot more people looking for homes now than there were in the nineteenth century. While you want to maintain the character and charm that are part of Nashville’s, history, you also want to provide the type of housing that people in Nashville need today. 

In our modern culture, convenience is everything. Residents in the early 1800s would never have imagined indoor plumbing, let alone smart home technology. Today, there is a focus on energy-efficiency and sustainable materials. Homeowners and tenants are looking for intuitive spaces, especially if they’re remote workers or moving in with an entire family. You’ll need to maintain historic character even while you modernize your home. 

How can it be done? Here are some of the best tips we can come up with to preserve the history and the culture of Nashville’s oldest homes, neighborhoods, and buildings. 

  • Respect the Architecture
  • Maintain the original architectural elements when you can, especially if they showcase the property’s era.
  • When making repairs and upgrades, contract with experts who have access to restorative methods that retain the building’s character while reinforcing its structure.
  • Keep the Decor Appropriate for the Property’s Period
  • Highlight features like exposed brick or original hardwood floors. Not only does this preserve the history of your property, but it also appeals to tenants who are looking for special décor and unique finishes and features. 
  • Use antique or vintage fixtures and elements that complement the historical theme. When you’re replacing drawer pulls and cabinet knobs, for example, don’t go straight to the shiny, modern nickel. Choose something that looks older but still functions in a way that’s easy and modern. 

Contact Property ManagerIf you’re investing in a property that’s historic or special to the city of Nashville, you’ll need some professional help. We are here to provide it. We love Nashville, its history, and its potential for real estate investors. Please contact us at Apex Ventures, Inc.