Q: My grandmother passed away last year and left a late 1800 home to the family. We have been contemplating renovating the house and heard there are organizations and grants that can be received but don't know where to start. Could you please tell me where to start looking? — Heather Ruel, New Bedford, MA

A: Steve Thomas replies : I've never heard of direct grants to people to renovate their houses, but the National Register of Historic Places does maintain a Web site that lists matching grants, tax incentives, and other assistance for historic rehabilitation and preservation.

Still, I think the best place to start researching the possibilities is the local historic society, which can put you in touch with agencies and other like-minded homeowners who can give you some road-tested advice.
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