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Durham Group Pushes Preservation Through Sale Of Endangered Homes

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DURHAM — Durham is hoping to lure new homeowners with a huge tax break in a plan that also benefits the Bull City.

On Sunday, the Historic Preservation Society of Durham held three open houses. More than 100 visitors passed through the doors.

"It's our history, first of all. Durham is a wonderful historic town. It has some wonderful historic buildings that need to be saved and lot of them are deteriorating," says Linda Hinton-Conley, a Preservation Society member.

The John and Elizabeth Chandler House, circa 1910, is one of three historic properties on the market as part of the Preservation Society's Renovate This! program.

You can buy the Chandler House for as low as $140,000. However, people who know the restoration business say buyers can expect to pay a lot more before all is said and done.

"There's a sizeable amount of work you're putting [into it.] Probably another $100,000 into it minimum is my guess to do a real class job," says contractor Rick Allen.

The lure to create the historic home of your dreams does prove powerful for some. A Garner couple has already put an offer on a 1920s-era home the Preservation Society has up for bid.

"People get interested and we've seen a lot of things done. We come to look at these before they're done then we come back when the open house is -- when they finish the restoration. It's amazing what the can do with it. So yes, it's all worth it," says Hinton-Conley.

The Preservation Society generally does not own the homes, it just markets them. When a sale is made though, the Preservation Society gets to attach covenants that insure the historic characteristics.


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