Buying a listed property

There are many responsibilities that come with owning a listed building but without exception they are outweighed by the benefits – and it is these benefits that make them increasingly popular with today’s buyers.

An historic house is part of our built heritage and makes not just our towns and cities so special but also our countryside. It really is the 3D equivalent of owning an old master. It is these homes, particularly those with outbuildings or annexes, that are of interest to many buyers, who either work from home, derive additional income from letting out their property or need extra space for visiting friends and family. However, knowing whether conversion or renovation is feasible is vital.

If you buy a listed building that is already in good condition, the responsibility and cost of maintenance should not be too onerous. The primary responsibility of the owner is to maintain and preserve the house for future generations.

Gatesheath Hall, Tattenhall near Chester is an impressive period residence, listed Grade II, with attractive courtyard range of buildings, leisure facilities and parkland occupying a rural yet convenient edge of village location. Offers in excess of £3,000,000. View details.

The important thing to understand is the construction of the building and treat it with the respect you would normally give to anything that has been around for 100 years; altering it without consent could not only be breaking the law, but it could also diminish its value.

In general like for like repair is allowed without obtaining listed building consent but it is becoming increasingly important to be able to prove that the repair was exactly that and not an alteration. However, if there is even a shred of doubt it is essential the local conservation officer is consulted and listed building consent obtained. Not only may unauthorised work frustrate a sale in the future it is a criminal offence and simply not worth it!

Before purchasing a listed property that is in need of renovation, time spent on reconnaissance and assessing the works that will need to be undertaken will rarely be wasted. It is also important to find an insurer who understands period buildings and a mortgage provider that thinks outside of the box.

Meeting with a conservation officer to discuss any alterations you hope to make will be very useful in terms of providing a greater understanding of what can be done. 

The next step is to employ a quantity surveyor or architect who fully understands the structure and can provide a clear indication of and how much the work is likely to cost.  

Finally, employ a builder who is familiar with old buildings and traditional materials as this should not only save time but it should also give the conservation officer and buildings inspector confidence and leave you to get on with the work.

Although there are a number of responsibilities that come with owning a listed building, for most buyers they are a labour of love.

Renovating a listed home can be incredibly rewarding and will not only help with the preservation of a fascinating piece of British history but in a small way help increase the country’s housing stock and avoid unnecessary building on greenfield sites. To discuss your requirements please do call our office:
01244 328361
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