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Looking to save money on rent or housing in Spokane? Consider a historic home

Living in a registered historic home can save people money on rent and taxes, according to Spokane Historic Preservation Officer Megan Duvall.

SPOKANE, Wash. — With so many people moving to the Inland Northwest, the demand for homes is up and refurbishing a historic home is now topping many people's list.

Spokane Historic Preservation Officer Megan Duvall said there are over 400 properties that are listed individually on the Spokane register.

Duvall took KREM 2's Channing Curtis on a walking tour of the newly proposed Cannon Street Car Suburb Historic District and talked about what exactly goes into adding a home to the register.

"I think a lot of people think we get involved in every decision that you make on your historic house," Duvall said. "But the interior is really yours to do whatever you want with we are we're making sure that if somebody's standing on the street looking at it, that it it retains its historic identity. And so that's what we're protecting."

With the increase in demand for housing in the area, Duvall said some of the historic homes that have been converted into multi-family units can be a way for people to save money on rent.

"One of the things that that we said as we went through the Browne's Addition Historic District process was sometimes those big mansions from the 1890s or 1900s, early 1900s that were broken up as early as the 1920s or 1930s," Duvall said. "Those are some of the most affordable housing units that we have in Spokane. And so by doing something like a district protection, we're actually protecting affordable housing."

People looking to purchase a historic home could even end up saving money on property taxes.

"When you own a historic house that's listed on the Spokane register, if you do make significant improvements to it over a two year period, we actually have some property tax reduction incentives that we can offer," Duvall said

Duvall said there are many kinds of properties on the register,  from grand mansions, to simple craftsman bungalows. Some of those bungalows have been a true labor of love. 

Mitsy Hunter and her husband live in one of those bungalows. They moved to Spokane from Seattle due to rising house prices there. The couple is now trying to put their new house on the register.

"We're nominating the Roche house under two categories. One is because it's a Swiss chalet bungalow, which is a very specific type of craftsman home," Hunter said."

The couple said houses like these aren't just homes, they're a direct connection to our past.

"This house is our responsibility to pass on, to keep it in as good of a shape as we can, restore as much as we can without making changes, it's about the house and the city and we're just along for the ride," Hunter said.

This story is part of KREM 2's Boomtown Week. Watch stories about the impacts of growth in Spokane and North Idaho all week long through Friday, Nov. 12.

Watch more Boomtown coverage on the KREM 2 YouTube channel:


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