The Mills Act is a federal organization located in the Western part of the United States that specifically helps protect historic homes from being improperly renovated or destroyed. Mainly found in California and Arizona, the Mills Act works with the individual states in lowering the yearly tax base paid on these historic homes. The savings can be significant and I have personally seen the taxes as low as 50% lower than what the normal tax rate should be.
Things to look for when looking for a historic home. First, not all historic homes will be covered by the Mills Act. Just because the home was built in the 1920's or 30's doesn't automatically qualify the home to be covered under the Mills Act. It's worth asking the real estate agent and/or owner if they have ever sent in an application. The biggest problem we see with historic home buyers is that they automatically think it will be covered and that's not the case. If the home is covered the real estate agent will normally promote this heavily as it's a great selling point for the home and a great savings for the buyer.
Next, if you buy a historic home that is covered under Mills Act then it's easy to transfer from one owner to the next. I have personally bought a home that was covered under the Mills Act and the transition was very easy. The Mills Act sent a simple form that I agreed that I would not doing any exterior work to the home without going through the organization first. I had to submit several exterior photos of the home and that was it. The tax base was then transferred to me which really was a huge savings.
For those who buy an older home that is not covered under the Mills Act then there is still hope. The process is not quick and normally takes approximately 9 to 12 months from the application process. We recommend going to the Mills Act organization website and fill out the application. Make sure you represent the home truthfully and send in good photos of the home. It's well worth the effort and can easily save you thousands of dollars each year. If you have any questions feel free to contact me anytime.
San Clemente has many homes that are covered under the Mills Act and do come up for sale from time to time. We recommend working with a local real estate agent that knows these older homes and how the Mills Act works. Below are available historic homes for sale in San Clemente that may be covered under the Mills Act.
San Clemente 402 Pasadena Court
Sea Cliffs - One of San Clemente's Finest Showcase Homes from the 1920's, offers an extraordinary setting along the Coast with huge potential for increased value. Unparalleled views of the Ocean, White Water, Pier, Beach, Coastline, Dana Point Harbor, Catalina & breathtaking Sunsets from inside this Historical Estate home or from the expansive Historical Gardens that surround a naturalized Water Cascade inspired by Italy's 'Villa Lante', a Moorish Style Fountain & Terraced grounds. This One-o...$4,995,000
San Clemente 704 Calle Puente
SUPER, SUPER LOW PROPERTY TAXES, Approx. $2,700 a year! Home is part of the Mills Act and a true Historic Home and only 2 Blocks from the Beach! This charming and colorful 2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom Ole Hanson gem was built in 1928 & has been in the current homeowner’s family since the 1960s. A Spanish Revival home, it has been lovingly restored to its original beauty with an exact attention to detail. Many original architectural elements remain: the red tile roof, plaster walls, open beamed ceilin...$1,300,000
San Clemente 120 Avenida Algodon
Ideal combination of casual beach charm and elegant coastal living, this outstanding 1926 Ole Hanson cottage is one of a kind and approved for the Mills Act property tax advantage. Hanson, is renowned for his distinctive style of Spanish-influenced architecture. Professionally remodeled down to the studs and expanded in 2017, the home carefully retains the original look and feel of its historic Hanson character while incorporating state-of-the-art technology and building techniques. Now spann...$1,275,000
San Clemente 230 Avenida Rosa
Iconic Ole Hanson treasure in the heart of San Clemente! Currently on the Mills Act for a HUGE tax benefit! Current property taxes are approx. $2,400 annually – an incredible tax savings! Celebrate downtown living in this popular location surrounded by multiple SFR’s and only a short walk to to Avenida Del Mar with multiple shops and restaurants, the beach, the SC Pier and more! Having been meticulously maintained, this 2bd/1ba Ole Hanson home exudes charm, character and an exquisite Spanish ...$1,025,000
San Clemente 143 Avenida Granada
Current use is a business and the property is zoned for mixed use. An Ole Hanson home that qualifies for the Mills Act and can easily be converted back to a residence. In the heart of vibrant Downtown San Clemente, with wonderful shops and restaurants. Check with the city about conversion to Single Family Residence and Mills Act qualifications and applications.$899,000